By Brian Rathbone

The Bulletin

Summit, the defending national champion, is the favorite to capture its 12th consecutive girls cross-country state title — its second since joining Class 6A — Saturday at the OSAA championship meet at Lane Community College in Eugene. Five runners from last year’s championship team will race again, including reigning state champ senior Fiona Max, Teaghan Knox and Isabel Max, who all finished in the top 10 a year ago.

After missing out a season ago in their first year competing in 6A, the Bend Lava Bears are back at the state meet following a second-place finish behind Summit at the Mountain Valley Conference championships. Bend is paced by freshman Olive Nye, who finished fifth at the MVC meet and has the second-fastest time among 6A freshmen this season.

Sisters is sending only two runners to the state meet, but they are two of the fastest runners in 4A. Freshman Ella Thorsett finished second at the Oregon West Conference championships and has the state’s second-fastest time (18:19.10) among 4A runners. Kate Bowen finished third at the OWC meet and has the eighth-fastest time (19:06.70).

On the boys side, Mountain Valley Conference champion Summit is one of three Class 6A teams with two runners with top-14 times entering the state meet. Sophomores Jackson Keefer (eighth) and Mason Kissell (14th) lead a Storm team that finished seventh at state a season ago.

Bend senior Bennet Jackson is coming off a championship run at the MVC meet and has finished fourth or higher in all five of his races this year, including three wins. He will race at state for the first time since his sophomore year in 2017. Jakob Knox (fourth), Nicolas Engel (14), Micah Pietrowski (17th) and Hadley Charles (25th) were point scorers for the Lava Bears at the district meet.

In 4A, Sisters won a loaded Oregon West Conference field, beating Philomath by four points to capture the team title. The Outlaws did so behind juniors John Peckham and Will Thorsett, who were the first two to cross the finish line. Each has posted among the fastest times in 4A this season.

— Reporter: 541-383-0307, brathbone@bendbulletin.com

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