By Mathew Brock

Pilot Sports Writer

After dominating league rankings for the majority of the season, the Bruins cross country team took first place for the boys and eighth place for the girls in their 5k races on Thursday at Special District 4 XC Championships.

The Bruins boys came in first place at the district meet at 31 points. The next closest competitor was Cascade Christian at 38 in second followed by Creswell in third at 85.

Caleb Barnes came in first for the boys at 17:25.21. This was about 15 seconds behind his current personal record, which he obtained several weeks ago on the same course. Barnes took the first place spot in the Bruins new 3A league early in the season and remained unchallenged throughout.

“We talked and he knew he’d be the dog that everyone would be chasing, but he stayed ahead and it was no contest,” Bruins coach Terry Axel said. “No one was really pushing him and he ended up around 15 seconds off time.”

The Bruins next best runner was Zachary Abblit in third at 18:13.02 followed by Christian Steendahl with a new personal best in sixth at 18:30.48. Mason Beaman took ninth place with a new PR of 18:39, while Everest Abblitt Also PRed as he took 14th at 19:00.05. All five will go on to represent Brookings-Harbor High School at the state meet next week.

According to Axel, Creswell kept it close with Zachary Abblit for a large part of the race, but he managed to break away and secured third before finishing up.

“All in all I was really happy with all the kid’s performance,” “The girls took eight and it was a huge race where they were running against everyone, from Lakeview to Creswell.”

The girls team managed to take eight place against 11 teams with 222 points. At eighth, the girls will not advance to the state level and end their season.

The top runner for the girls was Megan Pearson at 52nd place with a time of 25:18.4. Not far behind at 54th was Adelina Willis-Blunt with a new PR of 25:25.8 and Alexandra Contreras in 59th place with 26:07.0.

You can find a full list of results from Thursday’s meet at https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/144120#163.

Axel intends to rest the boys team as much as possible before going on to the 3A state championships on Nov. 3 at Lane Community college after pushing them hard this week to look past districts and keeping their eyes on state.

“It’s kind of a gamble to go week to week without missing a race,” Axel said. “Times aren’t gonna be their best since its gonna have bark and the rain and wet. With this team I think we’ll do well and Barnes I think can make the top five.”

Axel was also awarded Coach of the Year, which is chosen based on votes by other coaches in the league, and received a plaque in recognition.

“That was unexpected and fun. In the Far West (League) last year we voted and I was so busy here I even forgot to vote,” Axel said. “For it to be my first year and to get it was great. We were doing really well and beating a lot of people this year, so maybe they decided to base it on that.”

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