Once again an Oregon Cross Country tradition was upheld, when the Northwest Classic was held on the Lane CC course. It is a race that has been around for some time, like the venerable South Salem Invitational, and its list of winners is impressive. On the male side past champions include recent Olympian Galen Rupp (2002), as well as Ian Dobson (1999), David Axel (2001), Isaac Stoutenburg (whose winning time of 15:30is the fastest time of this century) & Joey Hambrick (2000). The list of girl’s winners is impressive as well with last year’s Footlocker finalist (recovering from injury) Taylor Wallace, Washington state champion Nicole Cochran and Amy Nickerson. Two-time winners include Jennifer Macias (currently running for Oregon State) & Erin Gray. Even more impressive the list includes one Shannon Rowbury of Sacred Heart in San Francisco, an Olympian this year, who won the race in 2000 in a time of 18:51. To compete at the Classic is to give yourself a chance to measure yourself against champions of the past as well as those of the future. There is much to be said for tradition, which this use-it-and-toss-away society ought to rethink.

Then again another noteworthy aspect of this meet is that it is held on the same course as is the State meet. Having runners know exactly what a course entails should not be underestimated and yesterday Alyssa O’ Connor of Summit & Tim Costin of Springfield showed that they know how to handle this course and that they will be formidable at State no matter who they run against including the combined state divisions. In fact, given the wind that faced them yesterday, they might expect to face more favorable conditions. The temperature, however, was fine for distance running, which was fortunate as the girls’ varsity race was off in earnest from the start.

Alyssa O’ Connor was the favorite but Ashley Baldovino of Lakeview showed no fears & quickly jumped to a slight lead. She pushed the pace early & continued to do so well into the race. By the time they had raced up the hill on the side of the track and raced above the soccer field they had established a good 15 meter lead over Sydney Snook of Gold Beach & Megan Fristoe of Summit. Another four yards back Jen Johnson of Corvallis led another pack that included Brooklin Brumond (celebrating her birthday) & Hillie Tiller of Summit plus Tate Murray of Lake Oswego.

It’s often said that looks can be deceiving but, when the runners returned into view by the baseball diamond, Baldovino looked smooth while O’ Connor appeared to be a bit out of sync. The strain shown on Alyssa’s face at that point suggested that this could be a long race for her, but then again they had reached the mile mark in a brisk 5:52 considering they ran into the face of the wind. Later the Summit star admitted that it had taken her awhile to truly get into a fluid flow.

As the leaders raced around the area that had once been a pond, the race was changing a bit in the chase-pack. Snook & Fristoe continued their battle but Jen Johnson began a big move and left the pack. She opened up a 15 meter lead over her pursuers Tate Murray, Julia Fonk of Franklin, Lauren Lloyd & Erin Jones of Hood River and Erin McLaughlin of Milwaukie.

The leaders, meanwhile, raced around the old pond & then headed for the track and there things got to be interesting. Baldovino had opened up a lead during that previous portion of the race but on the hill at the side of the track Alyssa seemed to be embracing that old coach’s mantra that ‘hills are our friends’ and she cut a huge dent into the lead that once existed. After cresting the top she was a new runner racing smoothly & fluidly and it was Alyssa who now began to push the pace. Baldovino for her part did her best to stay with O’ Connor. Behind them by a good 20 meters ran Megan Fristoe, also from Summit. She was alone now having left Snook, who was then being challenged and passed by Johnson, who took over fourth place. Further back loomed a small pack of Murray, McLaughlin &Fonk.

Once again they raced out of sight for the most part on the far side of the course and, when they returned to view by the baseball field O’ Connor had assumed control of the race. From there she ran away from Baldovino, who now showed the strain of racing into the stiff wind. Fristoe quickly passed the struggling runner and opened a distinct lead. Further back racing alone was Corvallis’ Johnson, who was feeling the pain of some tendonitis while Murray & McLaughlin ran together gaining ground.

Alyssa O’ Connor continued to finish strongly and immediately afterwards she finally showed the effort that had been expended. Pouring a cup of cold water she smiled as if to embrace the pain, which was after all a good pain. It was the pain of a well raced run and not that of an injury. Alyssa has been around long enough to know the important difference. Of note is her winning time of 18:47, which was even faster than that of Taylor Wallace last year on her way to Footlocker. It also was faster than that of Rowbury.

Megan Fristoe actually seemed to be gaining ground over the later stages of the race but the freshman from Summit was more than pleased to break the 19 minute barrier. Tate Murray closed in fine style as she placed third ahead of the valiant Baldovino, while Erin McLaughlin finished 5th ahead of Jen Johnson. Kellie Schueler, Summit’s brilliant sprinter threaded her way impressively through field once again to take 7th and Sydney Snook finished 8th ahead of Fonk of Franklin & Brooklin Brumond of Summit took tenth. In the team competition, that could be a preview of the State meet, Summit handled Corvallis 30 to 99 and Bend was impressive with 101 points. Franlin finished back in 7th but ran without their sstar Joy Shufeldt.

Tim Costin of Springfield is a young man on a mission, who has put in a good deal of training as well as planning to reach his goals this season. After watching him yesterday the plans appear to be going quite well.

He bolted into the lead right at the start - so much so that after less than 30 meters into the race pictures show he was in first already by a fair margin. He raced up the hill and continued to open up his lead. Well behind followed Dylan Arana of Springfield, Devin White of McKay & Michael Sherman of McKenzie.

Costin raced through the back part of the course reaching the mile mark in 4:51. Well behind followed Dylan Arana of Springfield, Devin White of McKay & Michael Sherman of McKenzie. Five yards behind them was Lake Oswego’s Elijah Greer, who had a summer almost beyond description with brilliant racing in the 800 Meters. He is one of those rare middle-distance runners, who enjoys the challenge of the hills and he left no doubt that he would not be intimidated by them. Greer soon passed that pack and then he moved far ahead of any would-be challenger, yet Costin was rolling well ahead of him.

Costin still seemed to be building lead trying to make sure the race would not come down to a final kick. They raced around the pond & then retraced their steps up the hill that paralleled the track with no real change. The Springfield star was hammering now but Greer began to make a strong move. Still, back in the pack the race seemed to be pretty much the same. Costin reached the two mile mark in 10:19 out of sight of most but, once he returned to view, the race could already be viewed as changing. The lead had been 19 (some say 20 seconds), when they raced from view, but now the lead was down to 13 seconds. That, of course, was still a significant lead but Costin was a bit tighter now in appearance & Greer was visibly making up ground.

The Springfield star made the final turn by the former pond and headed to the track with less than 800 meters remaining. He was working for sure yet still keeping his stride together. The lead was now down to 13 seconds, which in most cases would be secure, but Greer on the other hand was opening up even more. The distance between the two runners was still a good one, when Costin reached the track, and it still seemed insurmountable but Greer was now in full flight.

Costin to his credit was fighting that end of the race pain we all know & holding on impressively: the strain on his face being the only sign that he was tired. Greer almost stunningly was eating up yardage visibly with the passage of every 15 yards. This young man, who ran one of the greatest, if not the greatest prep 800 meter runs in history, was looming just off the last turn & was he ever moving! Off the far turn Costin was still finishing fast but Greer had moved to such a position that victory all of a sudden now seemed possible.

Great credit to Tim Costin, who ran a fine 15:59 alone into the wind. He noted after this, his second victory of the year following his triumph at South Salem, that this victory was more painful. He admitted to suffering a stitch for which his form never gave evidence but he was home first. At the moment he rates with Elliott Jantzer as the best male runner in the state. Still Greer has shown that he is formidable over the distance. A friend noted that one could see on his face that Greer had shut down at the very end and seemed to have yet more to give. Sadly we will not see them face each other at state, because football is more important & we want lots of champions even in a small state. That is a shame, as that is not what the sport is supposed to be about, and another head-to-head competition would be great. On the other hand these are two great talents as well as persons and part of me does not want one to lose to the other at the State level. For those runners at 6A b e advised that Elijah Greer has arrived as a cross country runner.

In the team race Sheldon won with a total of 62 points defeating Grant with 91 while Lake Oswego placed third with 98. In all it was a fine day with some very memorable races. It would be nice however, if next year, the Northwest Classic revived an old tradition that offered a hard copy to coaches & press. Waiting over twenty-four hours to patch together results is hardly 21st Century. As noted earlier there is much to be said for tradition. One last thought - it was nice to hand out chips for the runners to wear, so as for efficient tracking but there needs to be a penalty for runners, who decide to switch their chips with others thus muddling the results.

1 Alyssa O'Connor 18:47 12 Summit
2 Megan Fristoe 18:55 9 Summit
3 Tate Murray 19:18 12 Lake Oswego 496
4 Ashley Baldovino 19:24 Lakeview 526
5 Erin McLoughlin 19:32 12 Milwaukie 646
6 Jen Johnson 19:35 12 Corvalis 131
7 Kellie Schueler 19:37 11 Summit (came from way back again 403)
8 Sydney Snook 19:40 Gold Beach 224
9 Julia Fonk 20:01 Franklin 210
10 Brooklin Brumund 20:07 12 Summit (Birthday girl)

11 Annette Marinello 20:08 Corvallis 136
12 Hillie Teller 20:09 11 Summit

13 Pieree Loscaux 20:15 Summit 976

14 Lauren Lloyd 20:15 Hood River 393

15 Erin Jones 20:16 Hood River

16 Mimi Seeley 20:16 Bend

17 Nikki Grenier 20:19 Bend

18 Chantel Stinson 20:22 Bend

19 Grace Vishkola 20:23 Hood River

20 Talissa Baldovino 20:27 Lakeview

21 Jana Sadler 20:29 Marshfield

22 Hilary Sharpe 20:34 12 Summit

23 Brigid Behrens 20:36 Corvallis

24 Ragan Allen 20:37 Grant

25 Sarah Batten 20:41 Corvallis

26 Maddie LaSalle 20:45 LaSalle

27 Catherine Theobald 21:01 Bend

28 Deanna Lund 21:06 Bend

29 Eirann Cohen 21:11 11 Summit

30 Casey Robertson 21:13 Illinois Valley

Girls team Scores

1 Summit 30

2 Corvallis 99

3 Bend 101

4 Hood River Valley 133

5 Grant 211

6 Franklin 227

7 Marshfield 247

8 Lake Oswego 255

9 Lakeview 279

10 Central Catholic 300

11 Springfield 301

12 Sheldon 316

13 Oakridge 336

14 Illinois Valley 351

15 Mazama 368

16 Milwaukie 395

17 La Salle 422

18 Henley 467

Boys individuals Varsity

1 Tim Costin 15:59 12 Springfield 888

2 Elijah Greer 16:03 12 Lake Oswego 462

3 Dylan Arana 16:03 Springfield

4 John Paden 16:34 Lake Oswego

5 Devin White 16:47.4 12 McKa8

6 Brad Nelson 16:52 Corvallis

7 Matthew Melancon 17:06 Sheldon

8 Pat Madden 17:07 11 Summit

9 Logan Osterhout 17:11 Sheldon

10 David Carruth 17:12 Henley

11 Caleb patrick 17:14 Sheldon

12 Holden Rennaker 17:15 Grant

13 Abel Araya 17:19 12 Portland Lutheran

14 Michale Sherman 17:23 11 McKay

15 Robert macy 17:21 Grant

16 Michael Sherman 17:23 McKenzie

17 Jon Pennington 17:25 Aamity

18 Greg Drew 17:27 Springield

19 Aaron Nobiliti 17:28 Amity

20 Todd Moore 17:29 Sheldon

21 Kirby Garlitz 17:31 Mazama

22 Hayden Randall 17:34 Sheldon

23 Matias Bruzza 17:35 Grant

24 Thomas Goodwin 17:36.3 11 McKay

25 Dylan paulk 17:39 Grant

26 Tyler Walsh 17:40 12 Summit

27 Sam Ebeling 17:44 Grant

28 Jared Nichols 17:45 Cascade Christian

29 Seth Platsman 17:48 Bend

30 Daniel Runyon 17:49 Corvallis

Boys Team Results

1 Sheldon 62

2 Grant 91

3 Lake Oswego 98

4 Summit 131

5 Springfield 162

6 Bend 210

7 Henley 212

8 Mazama 252

9 Corvallis 253

10 Amity 283

11 Marshfield 289

12 Cascade Christian 308

13 La Salle 342

14 Hood River Valley 394

15 Triad Christian 427

16 Milwaukie 435

17 Newport 448

18 McKenzie 453

19 Lakeview 461

20 Grants Pass 467

21 Eagle Point 488

22 Crow 570

23 Canyonville Christian 682