By Mathew Brock

Pilot Sports Writer

After conquering their new 3A league this year, the Bruins cross country team took their season to the 3A State Championship meet at Lane Community College last Saturday, taking sixth place out of nine teams.

“It was a good race. The kids ran well,” said Bruins coach Terry Axel. “We had the nine best teams in the state so it was really exciting, there were a lot of teams we hadn’t seen before. It was a perfect cross country day, a little overcast and cool.”

The Bruins earned sixth place with 133 team points, just behind Riverdale at 131 and far ahead of Harrisburg at 160.

The top runner for the Bruins was freshman Kaleb Barnes who took seventh place overall with a time of 17:15. According to Axel, he expected Barnes to take a spot in the top five, but Barnes got mixed up about the length of the track. Barnes thought he had an additional two laps to run at the track and only managed to pull himself into seventh while closing the last 200 yards.

“Somebody told him he’d have two laps when he hit the track. He came around the corner and my wife shouted ‘Kick!’ and he kicked and pulled himself into seventh,” Axel said. “He’s a freshman and ran a good race. He got out smart and moved ahead in the field, but he had a lot left in the tank when he hit that last 100 yards.”

The next best was Zachary Abblitt in 26th place at 18:19. Everest Abblitt came in further behind at 40th with a new PR of 18:53, with Mason Beamon just behind at 41st with 18:58.

Christian Steendahl came in 46th with a time of 19:13, while Everett Van Maren took 51st at 19:29. Daniel Strom brought in the rear for the Bruins at 55th place with 19:44.

You can view the full results of Saturday’s meet at https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/144003/results.

The Bruins were working with a young team this year and will only lose seniors Mason Beaman, Everest Van Maron and Daniel Strom from their competitive team.

“What I’ve got coming back is a young team. I’m looking forward to getting back in the mix next year,” Axel said. “Guys this young only get faster. Right now they’re only like 14. Mistakes they made this year will be gone after they’ve run the courses last year.”

Barnes received received first-team all state after having an exceptional full first season of his high school running career.

With their season finished at the state meet, the Bruins will wrap things up with their awards banquet, which will be scheduled sometime after Nov. 10 after part of the team returns from a youth trip.

“We had a bet. They wanted my mustache if they made top five, but if they didn’t they were going to the awards banquet in dresses. We’ll see. Debts will be paid,” Axel said.

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