Running in the footsteps of the late Steve Prefontaine, Marshfield senior Alexander Garcia-Silver came through with a record-breaking performance in the Prefontaine Memorial Run on Saturday at Marshfield High School.
Garcia-Silver won in 14 minutes, 45.1 seconds, taking more than one minute off the course record of 15:47.7, set by Daniel Beckstead of Grants Pass in 2018.
The performance is the best 5,000-meter time in the state this season and takes 21 seconds off the personal best of Garcia-Silver, the reigning 4A champion. The runner-up, Hidden Valley senior Grant Bohannon, finished far behind in 16:24.3.
“We knew going in that there wasn't going to be anybody to challenge him, so he was going to have to run alone and essentially chase the motorcycle cop,” Marshfield coach Steve Delgado said.
The hilly race course starts in downtown Coos Bay and goes past Prefontaine's boyhood home, two blocks from the high school track, tracing the training route often taken by the legendary Marshfield runner a half-century ago.
Garcia-Silver, who opened the season by running 15:09.7 to win the Ash Creek Festival on Sept. 10, wanted to do something special Saturday.
“He sent me a message early in the week that said, 'Coach, I'm going to go sub-15, let's put together a plan,'” Delgado said. “So we put together a race plan, how to break down the sections, what kind of splits he needed to hit to do a sub-15.
“When he rounded the corner with 570 meters to go, at Pre's house, he was at 13:15. I thought, 'Here we go.' He just came in on fire. He executed the plan to perfection.”
Garcia-Silver has focused on improving his foot speed since finishing as runner-up in the 1,500 and 3,000 in the 4A track meet in the spring.
“Finishing second the way he did in the 3K race, it was just obvious that another year of physical maturity, and a little more focus on training speed, was going to be the key to him moving up to the next level,” Delgado said.
Garcia-Silver will try to build on his early-season momentum Saturday when he competes in the prestigious Nike Portland XC meet at Blue Lake Park in Fairview.
“If you look at the elite runners in our state last year, it was just a murderer's row of talent, and Alex was just on the outside of that group,” Delgado said. “This year he wants to be a leader in that group.”
Garcia-Silver also is looking to catch the eye of college programs.
“Since his 15:09 at Ash Creek, more colleges are willing to talk to him,” Delgado said. “He turned that level up. I think we haven't seen close to his best race yet.”
Grants Pass outscored Bandon 61-74 to win the boys title at the meet, led by juniors Matt Rieman (fifth) and Jaia Hannagan (seventh).
In the girls meet, Grants Pass sophomore Nettle Gray (19:20.7) held off Bandon senior Danielle McLain (19:35.2) for first place. Grants Pass scored 26 points to dominate the team scoring, also getting strong performances from seniors Ellie Berg (fourth) and Bela Marshak (fifth), sophomore Taylor Weber (seventh) and freshman Alexa Green (ninth).
Notes: The Northwest Classic, run Saturday on the state-championship course at Lane Community College, featured the three fastest girls time this season with Crescent Valley sophomore Emily Wisniewski (17:42.8), Lincoln junior Keira Saavedra (18:00.8) and Summit senior Ella Thorsett (18:06.20). Summit, which also got a fourth-place finish from senior Barrett Justema (18:08.5), scored 49 points to beat Lincoln (61) and South Eugene (85) in the 22-team 6A/5A girls race. Lincoln won the 32-team 6A/5A boys meet, scoring 70 points to hold off Franklin (79) and West Salem (88). Lincoln senior Samy Anderson (15:17.1) edged Crescent Valley senior Kanoa Blake (15:18.8) for first place. Philomath won the boys and girls titles in the 4A/3A/2A/1A races at the Northwest Classic, getting first-place performances from senior Ben Hernandez (16:16.4) and sophomore Adele Beckstead (19:16.3). …
Central Catholic senior Wes Shipsey (14:50.8) and Milwaukie senior Logan Law (14:54.4) recorded the No. 2 and No. 3 times in the state this season in finishing 1-2 in the Meriwether Classic at Meriwether National Golf Club on Friday. Central Catholic scored 71 points to win the 33-team boys meet, defeating Sunset (95) and Newberg (165). Sunset won the 26-team girls race at Meriwether with 58 points, easily beating runner-up Lakeridge (122). Alexis Leone, a junior from Seton Catholic of Vancouver, won in 17:46.8, pulling away from Lake Oswego sophomore Ana Peters, who was second in 18:08.3. …
Valley Catholic swept the boys and girls titles at the 29-team Silver Falls Oktoberfest Invitational on Sept. 14 at Silver Falls State Park. The Valiants outscored South Albany 47-54 in the boys meet and Silverton 35-68 in the girls meet. South Albany sophomore Zander Campbell (15:55.5) beat Santiam Christian senior Benjamin Bourne (16:06.2) to win the boys race; Valley Catholic sophomore Jaya Simmons (18:47.8) outpaced East Linn Christian sophomore Daisy Lalonde (19:06.2) to take the girls race.