EUGENE — Central Oregon runners made an impressive charge Saturday at one of the state’s early-season showcase cross-country events. And — no surprise — Summit set the pace.
Senior Fiona Max, the reigning Class 6A champion, placed first in the 6A/5A girls division of the Northwest Classic, leading the Storm to a dazzling 24-point performance and first place among 28 teams.
Max won with a time of 17 minutes, 14.3 seconds, over the 5,000-meter course at Lane Community College, where in eight weeks Summit is expected to run for a second straight 6A state championship and 12th state title in a row overall.
In Saturday’s meet, Max won by more than 42 seconds over runner-up Madison Elmore of South Eugene. Teaghan Knox finished third for the Storm, and Stella Skovborg, Jasper Fievet and Barrett Justema gave Summit five scorers in the top eight finishers. Bend High freshman Olive Nye gave Central Oregon another top-10 finisher with her 10th-place effort. The Storm’s winning team margin was 24-53 over South Eugene.
The Summit boys were also 6A/5A winners Saturday, edging runner-up South Eugene by a 119-123 margin. Sam Hatfield and Joseph Sortor finished ninth and 10th, respectively, to lead the Storm.
The top Central Oregon finisher in the 6A/5A boys race was Bend High senior Bennet Jackson, who was fourth overall in 15:47.6 to lead the Lava Bears to a fifth-place team finish.
The 4A/3A/2A/1A competition produced standout performances for Sisters runners, led by John Peckham’s victory in the boys race. His time was 16:17.2, more than seven seconds faster than runner-up Jimmy Talley of Cottage Grove. Outlaws teammate Will Thorsett was third overall in 16:25.6, helping Sisters place third in the team standings.
In the girls race for the smaller schools, Sisters runners Ella Thorsett and Kate Brown placed fifth and sixth, respectively, and the Outlaws finished seventh in the 21-team field.