MANLEY, BENNETT WIN AT MYRTLE POINT INVITATIONAL

October 13, 2007 12:00 am

By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

Ally Manley won her fifth race of the year and the Brookings-Harbor High School boys' cross country team won their sixth team title this season as the Bruins had a successful afternoon at the Myrtle Point Invitational Thursday.

Manley outdueled fellow freshman Sydney Snook of Gold Beach to take home first place with a time of 19:16.

"She's so coachable," Coach Terry Axel said of Manley. "You tell her to do something at a certain point and she goes out and does it."

Manley followed Snook for the first mile, then overtook her around the mile mark and gradually increased her lead.

The two freshman were familiar competitors, racing against each other throughout middle school. This was the first time that Manley has beaten Snook.

With both Amy Axel and Andi Gutierrez out with injuries, Krista Watterson stepped up and was the second Bruin finisher, coming in 10th overall with a time of 23:14.

Nicole Ledford finished 12th with a time of 23:30, followed by Lisa Bernhard in 17th at 24:08.

Charlotte Smith was the fifth Bruin finisher in 23rd place at 25:27, while Rachel Carrillo came in 26th at 28:18.

The girls took second overall in the team standings with 50 points, behind Bandon (34) and ahead of Myrtle Point (52).

In the boys' race, Willie Bennett led the way for the Bruins as he won his first race of the year with a time of 17:46, helping the Bruins grab their sixth team title this season.

Linden Loren followed up Bennett with a second place finish and a time of 17:54, while Chris Neighbor came in third at 18:04.

Gage Northrup had his best race of the year with a fourth place finish and a time of 18:12.

"Gage really stepped up and filled a big hole for us," Axel said.

While being hampered by a sore back, Kevin Sthen rounded out the scoring for the Bruins in 10th place with a time of 19:21.

He was followed by Tim Hunter, who put in his best performance of the year with an 11th place finish at 19:50.

The Bruins won the event with 18 points, followed by Bandon (52), Reedsport (74) and Pacific (86).

The Bruins have less than two weeks before they compete in the district meet as they battle with North Bend and Siuslaw for two openings at the state championships.

"I think it's going to be a barn-burner at the district meet," Axel said. "One of the top five teams in the state won't be going."

In the latest 4A Cross Country Coaches poll, North Bend was ranked #1 while Siuslaw came in #4 and the Bruins were #5 in the state.

The final meet before the district meet will be the Myrtle Creek Invitational on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m.