Cottage Grove’s cross country team traveled to Philomath on Saturday to face off against some of the top programs in the 4A classification.
Defending state champion Siuslaw and top contender Philomath were in attendance as the boys varsity team took third behind those two teams while the boys junior varsity team finished first.
“Our focus on Saturday was to see what we could do against the teams in our league,” said Head Coach Ricky Knutson. “One of the best things about it was we still have room to improve, the guys ran really well. But we don’t feel like we’ve reached our peak yet.”
Carter Parsons (18:58) and Jace Meyer (19:13) finished first and third in the JV race helping Cottage Grove beat Philomath with a score of 40 to 47.
“It was pretty fun for those guys to experience that success together,” said Knutson. “It was fun to see them get some recognition for all the hard work they had been putting in.”
Junior Jayden Owens took fifth in the boys varsity race, running a season best of 16:55. Carter Bengston had a personal best over the weekend with a 17:17 as he finished ninth and teammate Ethan Peterson rounded out the top 10 with a season best at 17:20.
Rafael Fields almost shaved a whole minute off of his best time with a 18:48. Brayden Russell (19:09) and Andrew Wiley (19:22) both finished with personal bests. Brennen Murphy finished his day with a time of 19:18.
“I hope it gives them a little bit of confidence going forward,” said Knutson.
On the girls side, Cottage Grove finished square in the middle as they were seventh out of 14 teams. Bella Keating finished with a personal best 21:50. While Piper Youngmyr (23:22), Cora McClean (23:58), Evie Smith (24:26), and Kajsa Merz (24:46) all finished in the top 66.
“The girls group has been working really hard and its been fun since they have actually had a full team,” said Knutson. “The girls have yet to run a race with all five of our scorers are healthy and full go. So with that being said they’ve still managed to place pretty well and we have yet to see that perfect race from the girls,” Knuston added. “Which is encouraging because that means we still have plenty of room for improvement.”
Cottage Grove will travel next to Sisters as they will partake in the Clash in the Cascades on Thursday Oct. 14.
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