After a truncated preseason, the Brookings-Harbor cross country team competed at the inaugural Rogue Cross Country Invite at Colver Sports Fields in Talent last weekend.
Instead of competing in the varsity race, head coach Terry Axel opted to insert his runners into the junior varsity division instead.
“It was such a big school; there was Crater and Grants Pass,” Axel said. “But even with that, the JV race was loaded.”
Out of an eight-team junior varsity field, the Bruins finished fifth with a total score of 135 points.
Sophomore Zachary Abblitt was once again the frontrunner for the Bruins, as he finished in 9th place with a time of 19 minutes and nine seconds.
Abblitt was the only Bruin to finish in the top 25, as the next closest Bruin was junior Andrew Enos, who finished 34th with a time of 21 minutes and 26 seconds. Enos was closely followed by senior Ryan Steendahl, junior Mason Beeman, and freshman Christian Steendahl, who finished 36th, 37th and 40th respectively.
“(It was a) really slow course, it was flat, they had just laid bark down so it was kind of weird to race off,” Axel said. “So the times, even Zack’s time, was slow.”
Freshman Daniel Storm (47th) junior Everett Van Maren (51st) and sophomore Aidan Zellmer (54th) finished in the middle of the pack at times of 22 minutes and nine seconds, 22 minutes and 29 seconds and 22 minutes and 37 seconds.
Sophomores Robby Rowe (78th) and Toner Neros (81st) rounded out the pack with times of 25 minutes and 50 seconds and 27 minutes and 35 seconds.
Axel noted the team was still trying to make up for the lost practices due to the Chetco Bar Fire at the start of the season, and some were nursing shin splits.
“Some of it is just trying to get too much, too fast,” Axel explained. “But it is what it is.”
Despite their injuries and weariness however, the Bruins have been steadily making progress on the season.
“What I do like is the younger runners are starting to move up in second, third, fourth and fifth, and starting to shift around. I’m happy with that,” Axel said. “We just basically got about 26 days to start tightening things down and when we go back to Tugman it’ll be interesting to see where they’re at from the first race we had out there.”
The Bruins return to action today at the Woahink Lake XC Invitational at Honeyman State Park.
“Again, I’ve got a couple key boys that aren’t running,” Axel said. “So we’re running in the JV division tomorrow. Again, Zack’s still going to be tested we’re gonna do that and kind of give them a little bit of confidence then we’re back up for the last- Fortuna, Myrtle point, and then district.”
The Panthers competed in their fourth meet in 14 days at the Bandon Invitational at the Bandon Dunes on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
Neither the boys nor girls teams registered a team score at the meet as only four Panthers were on either team.
On the boys side, junior Brycen Pitchford paced the Panthers with a top 8 finish and a time of 19 minutes and 36 seconds. His brother, junior Bailey Pitchford was the closest runner up in 16th place (21:28), followed by sophomore Tandy Martin (22:04) in 20th place.
Senior Dawson Martin rounded out the team in 35th place with a time of 26 minutes and 12 seconds.
For the women’s race, freshman Anna McCann (24:03) and seniors Avi Gaston (24:13) and Bethy Myers (24:20) finished 6th, 7th and 8th respectively. Freshman Isabelle Stender finished 33rd at 35 minutes and 31 seconds.
The Panthers return to action later today at the Woahink Lake XC Invitational at Honeyman State Park.