CG cross country pivots race due to smoke


Some wild events took place on Saturday ahead of the first cross country meet for Cottage Grove.

The first meet for the Lions was supposed to take place at Marist High School, but according to OSAA health standards, no athletic events can take place with an AQI over 100. About an hour before the races got started the AQI was close to 150 making the race postponed leaving the coaches to come up with either a new place to run the race or cancel the event.

“South Eugene had practice at Richardson Park (near Junction City) the day before the meet and noticed the AQI was much better out there. So that was floated for all the other coaches that were there and we all agreed to move the race out to there,” said Cottage Grove Head Coach Ricky Knutson. “It was really awesome how it came together. The timing company agreed to move their equipment and the coaches worked together to make the course ready for the kids by throwing cones out and making the course. About two hours ago we were standing in the middle of the Marist football field trying to figure something out and now here we are running a race.” 

The race was officially moved to Richardson Park and the course took runners on three one-mile loops before coming back to the finish line near Fern Ridge lake.

Eight teams including conference foes Marist and Junction City competed at this race while also welcoming 6A programs Sheldon, Grants Pass and South Eugene. 

The boys’ races started and with the flat course; some fast times were expected and ultimately delivered.

The top two boys finishers coming from Sheldon and South Eugene both finished under 16 minutes while Jayden Owens led the Cottage Grove boys finishing just outside the overall top ten. Three other boys for Cottage Grove finished in the top 40: Carter Bengston, Ethan Peterson and Brennen Murphy. The CG boys team had a strong first race, placing fourth overall, finishing ahead of all other 4A schools. 

Bella Keating, a key runner was not in attendance for the girls’ team, who showed positive signs over the weekend with Kajsa Merz beating her times from the past two years and Piper Youngmyr finishing a few seconds behind her. Allison Palluck, Cora McClean, and Evie Smith all finished inside the top 51. The girls’ team finished seventh, but ahead of Junction City. 

The cross country team travels to Stayton on Saturday, Sept. 11, and will race against 14 other teams from various divisions.

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