Monmouth — Western Oregon University hosted the annual Ash Creek XC Festival after a year hiatus due to COVID. This year’s event featured three powerhouses making their season debut: Jesuit, Summit, Siuslaw, along with a number of teams looking to find their place in the pecking order at such a large event.
Cross Country Titans Go To Battle, Summit Wins The First Round
They’ve been absent the first two weeks of the season, but they were far from forgotten! The Storm and Crusaders arrived in Monmouth on Saturday with one mission: Destroy everyone. They did that and then some! Jesuit’s Chloe Foerster rolled in the event, winning by 26 seconds ahead of second place Kendall York of Lincoln. Teaghan Knox was the first finisher for Summit in the third position, while Jesuit Freshman Emma Bennett took fifth place in Monmouth. Overall, the Storm ended up winning the first battle between them, putting up a score of 43 points and edging out Jesuit’s 47 points to take the win! Sisters transfer Ella Thorsett made her Summit debut, taking 12th position. Jesuit’s performance is notable for their freshman, as they had two of them place in the Top 10: Bennett and Maura O’Scannlain alongside their Senior star Foerster. This is the first of many clashes to come between these 6A powerhouses, with Summit looking to continue their championship streak and Jesuit trying to end it in 2021.
Ashland entered the Ash Creek Festival as a bit of an underdog, not a team usually considered to be one to watch at these meets, but they gave us a reason to watch on Saturday. Anchored by Grace Yaconelli, the Grizzlies ended up taking 11th out of the Top 23, finding themselves ahead of 4A and 3A/2A/1A powers Siuslaw and Bandon. Annika Wells, Kariana Austbo, and Nikaela Apilada all found themselves finishing in the Top 100 out of 199 runners in Monmouth. This is encouraging for Ashland, who had their first opportunity to compete with their two meets prior cancelled to start the season. While they still trail Crescent Valley, they might have an argument as a Top 5 team in 5A once we know the results of other 5A teams from this weekend.
Siuslaw’s Mellow Debut
Retooling their roster from a phenomenal Spring season, the Vikings came to Monmouth and had a mellow debut. They only got one runner in the Top 100, Senior Rylee Colton. Sophomore Jane Lacouture and Freshman Addison McNeill finished just outside the Top 100 in 109 and 105 positions, but it isn’t the shattering results that we witnessed in the Spring from the 4A Champions. They still sit as a Top 5 4A team, but they have to chase Valley Catholic, Marist, and Philomath to win the state title in 2021. The road to a championship is there, but nowhere near as easy as it was this Spring for the Vikings.
Wisniewski Is Crescent Valley’s Anchor To A 5A Title
Freshman Emily Wisniewski has emerged as the key to success for the Raiders, who have asserted themselves as the team to chase in 5A this fall. With the Freshman as the anchor, Seniors Ava McKee and Ellie Quintana serve as the 2/3 plug-ins. Unlike many programs, the Raiders actually have five runners who are in the Top 50 of the state, and its actually Top 41 in the state for Crescent Valley. Marla Linvog and Trinity Reistad are the key to the back half of their scoring, although Angela Martin and Sasha Kelly are in the wings ready to seize the opportunity if needed to come through. A very solid team, the 5A favorites, and its all anchored by a phenomenal Freshman Emily Wisniewski!