By Chad Robert Snyder
Pilot staff writer
Brookings-Harbor High School varsity cross country traveled to Myrtle Creek on Saturday, Oct. 11, and returned with second-place finishes from both the boys' and girls' team.
Despite lacking one of their elite runners, Linden Loren, the boys' team barely missed an overall victory. The Bruins came up one point short of Bandon in a lowest point total wins scenario, 40-41.
In the Harvest Run, Kevin Sthen shot out to an early lead. Gage Northrup caught up quickly, though, and the two competed for the duration of the race. Near the end of the course, Bruin Ray Mazyck tracked down both Sthen and Northrup. The three finished in a bunch Sthen taking second, Northrup, third and Mazyck, fourth in a span of only four seconds.
The Bruins also got finishes of 15th, by Javin Fleshman, 17th, by Nicky Yuan and a 33rd from Jeff Gowman.
Head Coach Terry Axel said he was surprised and heartened by the performance of Mazyck.
"He kept moving up all race, and he actually brought the field in on the uphill section," Axel said.
Ally Manley put in her standard first-place effort in the girls race, crossing the line at 19:26.
Nicole Ledford followed in fourth, with a time of 22:19.
The next BHHS finishers were Maysea Young and Roxanne Gothard back to back at 14 and 15, and then a surprising 18th-place from Autumn Gardner, Axel said.
Gardner has been a bonus for the team, and placed very well in only her second race of the season, according to Axel.
Kiara Evans crossed the finish line in 21st for the girls. Five seconds later, Nicole Frye finished 22nd and guaranteed the girls would take second overall, tallying 52 points to Bandon's 42.
Axel said the course was slightly longer than the teams were accustomed to. It was also largely on grass surfaces. Axel said both factors slowed overall times, but the same was true for all eight teams in the field and did not adversely effect the Bruins' results alone.
When asked his general impressions of the race, Axel said he was extremely happy with both performances in the midst preparing for the upcoming district meet on Oct. 23.
"Everyone is running well, and we need that because it's going to be really tight between three teams deciding who gets to go to state," he said.
Only the top two teams in each conference earn a state invitation, and Axel said he's hopeful about both teams' chances.
As a result, the time until district is focused on preparation, according to Axel.
"This week is all about speed workouts and then getting rested and ready," he said.
The district meet will be held at North Bend on Thursday, Oct. 23. The times have yet to be announced.