GEARHART - The golfers had to put their game on hold for about a couple hours Thursday afternoon in Gearhart, as over 100 cross country runners played through as part of the 2009 Cowapa League championship meet.
And the "Year of the Freshmen" in the Cowapa was on display for all to see at the Gearhart Golf Links, site of the league championship meet for the second year in a row.
Banks freshman Sara Reaser was the individual winner in the girls' race, which had four freshmen in the top eight places. The other four runners were comprised of three sophomores and a junior.
Reaser finished in 20 minutes, 52 seconds, ahead of Scappoose freshman Tia Carnahan (21:11.69), who edged Jessica Markham of Banks (21:11.94) at the tape.
The Lady Braves ran away with the team title, with 28 points. The Braves' top five runners all finished in the top nine overall. Scappoose qualified for state as a team, finishing second with 48 points, while Seaside (80) was a distant third, and Astoria (95) placed fourth.
Scappoose took the boys' team trophy with 33 points, followed by Tillamook (54), Astoria (66), Seaside (76) and Banks (140).
Scappoose seniors Parker Elder (18:00) and Will Taylor (18:20) finished 1-2 for the Indians.
While the flu took its toll on Seaside runners, the Fishermen were hit hard by some costly suspensions.
"The team effort today was extraordinary," said first-year Astoria coach Jessica Eilertson. "They really pushed hard. We were facing some adversity with some suspensions and the flu season, which has been especially awful this year. And they really pulled through. They ran their hearts out today. I could not have asked them to perform any better than they did."
Missing top runner Erik Keating, the Astoria boys managed to place four finishers in the top 15, with David Woltjer and Matt Sagers finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.
Astoria freshman Aurora Olsen will represent the Lady Fish at state, as the freshman ran her best race of the season.
"Three out of the 11 that raced today are going to state," Eilertson said proudly. "We would have been pretty close to a top two finish for the boys' team, but we were missing our top runner, so we did the best we could. It was just unfortunate with the timing."
Olsen, meanwhile, made an impressive showing in her first district championship race.
"Aurora took sixth place (in 22:13) and got her personal best by 20 seconds," Eilertson said. "She is a rising star. The weather's miserable, and she was in pain, too. So she really ran a remarkable race. She has a sciatic nerve condition in her back, but she just pushed through the pain."
Seaside - which had 192 students out Wednesday with flu-like or cold symptoms - battled its way to some impressive finishes as well.
Sophomore Kirsten Farmer was a distant fourth overall, in 21:54, followed by sophomore teammate Bridgette Blakesley in fifth (22:05). They will be joined at state by sophomore Antona Ferry, who took 14th in 23:49.
"The three girls really ran stellar races," said Seaside coach Neil Branson. "Kirsten really went out hard, ran smart, hung on and kept the pace. And Bridgette ran a solid, consistent race, as did Antona Ferry."
The Seaside boys will send Tyller Perry to Eugene, as the sophomore took fifth in 18:59. Brother Jon Perry was 11th in 19:22.
Seaside freshman Brett Willyard ran despite being ill, and placed 23rd.
"Having Brett sick, he just kept falling back," Branson said. "We sent him out to try and be in the top 10, and he was a little too aggressive at the start. But it wouldn't have mattered - he just ran out of gas. He's been sick for a week and a half. And Jon hasn't been feeling a hundred percent and Max Milander's been coughing for a couple weeks. We were really hammered by the flu."
Teamwise, "we knew we had to have everybody on their game," Branson said. "Tillamook went third and fourth, so they really stepped it up at the right time. Scappoose was real tough, and the Banks girls just cleaned up."
The state meet takes place Nov. 7 at Lane Community College in Eugene.
Loggers run at TualatinBEAVERTON - The Knappa cross country team took part in the Northwest League championship meet, Thursday at Tualatin Hills Recreation Center.
Leading the way for the Knappa girls was Emily Johnson, who placed 15th overall in 22:44 (90 seconds off her personal best).
Teammate Katie George finished 45th overall (25:09) in her final race, while other placers included (all best seasonal times): Tia Fish (27:29); Kelsey Stanovich (28.21), Kirsten Purdy (29:30) and Jackie Marincovich (31:42).
The Knappa boys were led by upcoming talent Zoli Bokor, who ran 50 seconds off his PR to finish in 19:04 (14th overall).
Teammate Roland Paterson placed 33rd (20:00 - one minute off season best), while Kody Sporseen was off the charts with a six-minutes PR of 21:42.
Nick Landwehr finished in 23:12, despite a squirrel that tripped him near the beginning of the race; and Paul McAloney had a season-best 26:24.