By JOHN GUNTHER/for OSAAtoday
EUGENE — Never before had anyone run faster than 14 minutes and 45 seconds in a 5,000-meter race on the state cross country course at Lane Community College.
Crater senior Tyrone Gorze cracked that barrier and then some on Saturday, repeating as individual champion and leading the Comets to the 5A title in a new record time of 14:37.9.
“Obviously, last week I ran 14:41 on a similar course, so running faster than 14:41 was the goal,” said Gorze, who will run for the University of Washington next year. “(Running) 14:40 was something I was definitely capable of getting and to do that is special.”
The fastest performance prior to Saturday had been 14:45 by Matthew Maton of Summit in 2014. Gorze ran away from the field to break the record, clocking a blazing 4:29 first mile and following that up with a 4:45 second mile to build a big lead on the field.
Ultimately, Logan Law of Milwaukie finished second in 15:16.
“Last year, I opened with a fast mile,” Gorze said. “To do it (again) this year is cool.”
He said he is comfortable running out front.
“I have a lot of experience racing by myself,” he said.
“I have my watch, I have my splits. There’s people every other turn to push me along, so it doesn’t really feel like I’m by myself out there. Of course it’s tough, but I’m used to it by now.”
Gorze’s winning time last fall was 15:05.
Led by Gorze, the Comets easily won the title because their next four runners all finished in the top 10.
“Last year we had four in the top 10 — to do better than that is cool,” he said. “This group of guys, I love every single one of them. Obviously coming in as favorites, the pressure was against us a little bit.
“We have a really good coach in Justin Loftus who helps keep us composed. A lot of credit has to go to him and a lot of credit has to go to the other guys pushing me along.”
Josiah Tostenson was sixth, while Caleb Doddington, Tayvon Kitchen and Shaun Garnica were eighth through 10th.
Crater now has won five of the past six 5A titles.
“It’s an amazing group of guys,” Gorze said. “It’s going to be tough to leave them, but we have a really young team, so to see them when I’m gone will still be amazing.”
Ryder Hvall was the only other senior running for the Comets on Saturday, placing 29th. Doddington, Garnica and Jeffrey Hellmen (17th) are juniors and Kitchen and Tostenson are sophomores.
Crater had 30 points Saturday, while Wilsonville had 93, Summit 119 and Hood River Valley 161. Crescent Valley finished fifth with 169.
Wilsonville’s Carter Cutting was third individually in 15:31, followed by Nathan Stein of Ashland (15:35) and Wilsonville’s Mason Weisgerber (15:37).
6A Boys: Jesuit won its second straight title, led by individual winner Jacob Nenow, who beat a talented field in 15:06.
The Crusaders had four of the top eight and scored 33 points, to 84 for Lincoln, 98 for West Salem and 130 for Franklin. Central Catholic was fifth with 149.
“I’m super thankful and blessed,” said Nenow, who pulled away from runner-up Samy Anderson of Lincoln (15:15.5) and the rest of the field. “I’m super happy with how I ran and also my team. To do so well is really awesome.”
Nenow came in as one of the favorites and didn’t leave things up to a sprint at the end. Behind Anderson were Jesuit’s Gus Clevenger (15:20.3), West Salem’s Jack Meier (15:20.7) and Jesuit’s Joshua Augustine (15:27.5). All had run under 15 minutes at least once during the regular season.
“All the work we’ve been doing over the summer and in the season gives us strength to be able to move early and maintain (a lead) in the last mile,” Nenow said. “I was trying to stay relaxed the first half of the race and then go and not leave it to the track. I’m not the best finisher.”
He didn’t need to be, holding his advantage to the end and leading the Crusaders to the title. Caden Swanson was eighth for Jesuit and Matthew Wroblewski was 19th to round out Jesuit’s scoring runners.
“To see our team do so well and execute so well is great,” Nenow said. “And to win two (titles) in a row is awesome.”
4A Boys: Marshfield’s Alexander Garcia-Silver was the first runner to set a new record Saturday, winning in 15:22.2. The old 4A record was 15:35 by Phoenix’s Elliot Jantzer, like Garcia-Silver a two-time winner, in 2007.
Garcia-Silver pulled away from Juan Diego Contreras of The Dalles over the final two miles, ultimately winning by 19 seconds.
“My goal was to feel comfortable the first mile and go hard,” Garcia-Silver said, adding that he knew running fast was going to be difficult without other runners pushing him all the way. He was glad to have Contreras close for a while.
“I hoped he would go out with me as long as he was willing,” Garcia-Silver said. “The rest was on me.”
The Marshfield senior said he was happy with his time, adding “winning a championship is always good.”
The only other Marshfield runner to win consecutive titles was the legendary Steve Prefontaine.
“I think it’s really special and it’s good to contribute to history,” Garcia-Silver said of joining Pre as a two-time winner.
Contreras led The Dalles to the team title in a tight race with Philomath. The Dalles finished with 57 points and Philomath 60. Crook County was a distant third with 142 and Marist Catholic got the final trophy with 164 points, just ahead of Baker (167), Marshfield (169) and Hidden Valley (171). Marist Catholic had gotten the one 4A at-large berth to the state meet, a new feature this year, after finishing behind Cottage Grove and Marshfield at the Sky-Em League meet.
“It’s unbelievable,” Contreras said. “Once we made the switch to 4A (this fall) the goal was to be state champions.”
Leo Lemann was fourth for The Dalles while Vincent and Egan Ziegenhagen came in 18th and 19th and Kayden McCavic was 23rd for the Riverhawks.
Contreras said he was hoping to stick with Garcia-Silver as long as possible, but his individual finish was secondary Saturday.
“For me, the team title is more important,” he said.
Contreras finished in 15:41, while Jaden Owens of Cottage Grove was third (16:16), followed by Lemann (16:22) and Ben Hernandez of Philomath (16:26).
3A Boys: Siuslaw won its third straight state title, but first at Class 3A after dropping down this fall, placing all five of its scoring runners in the top 20 overall.
The Vikings scored 52 points, to 75 for Valley Catholic, 84 for Santiam Christian and 91 for Enterprise. Oregon Episcopal was fifth with 105 points.
Siuslaw’s strength is in the team, said Samuel Ulrich and Kyle Hughes, who were fifth and sixth to lead the Vikings.
“The term iron sharpens iron definitely helps,” Ulrich said.
“It’s a unique environment,” added Hughes. “We all build each other up. We’re not competing against each other.”
That made the difference in what was expected to be a tight team race.
“I’m really proud of how our team did,” Hughes said. “We pulled it out.”
Ulrich finished in 16:38.7 and Hughes in 16:42.8. They were followed by Brayden Linton in 13th, Jacob Blankenship in 18th and Dylan Jensen in 20th.
Santiam Christian’s Benjamin Bourne was the individual winner, finishing in 15:57.2.
“I’m as happy as I could be,” Bourne said. “It’s kind of how I planned it out during the week. It just took guts. I gave everything I had.”
Bourne trailed La Pine’s Wyatt Montgomery until about 400 meters to go.
“I knew if I made it to the track first, I had enough track speed,” he said.
Montgomery was the runner-up in 16:00.1, followed by Oregon Episcopal’s Olin Gilster (16:09.1) and Vale’s Trevor Stewart (16:22.0).
2A-1A Boys: Knappa won its first-ever title in boys cross country, edging Union/Cove by just two points.
“We’ve been talking about it ever since freshman year,” said Isaiah Rodriguez, one of three seniors on the squad and Knappa’s first finisher Saturday in third place. “We motivated each other as a team and came out and got it done.”
Knappa coach Amanda Isom said the Loggers had been targeting Union all season and set up a race plan Saturday.
“The all had the people they needed to beat,” Isom said.
They didn’t necessarily all beat their targets, she said, “but we had others that stepped up.”
That included sophomore Soren Brown, who passed two others on the track, picking up valuable points by finishing 25th, just in front of a pair of Union runners.
Joshua Peterson was eighth, Wyatt Jacobson 12th and Clay Keyser 19th for Knappa.
The Loggers finished with 53 points to 55 for Union, 90 for Heppner/Condon and 100 for Stanfield/Echo. Bandon was fifth with 105. Like Marist Catholic in 4A, Stanfield/Echo was an at-large qualifier.
Heppner had the top two finishers — Trevor Nichols (16:10) and Grady Greenwood (16:12).
“It’s been a long time coming,” Nichols said. “Grady and I wanted to go (to the front) with a mile to go. We knew we were going to die doing it, but it was worth it.”
Nichols attends Heppner and Greenwood is a student at Condon. They don’t get to train a lot together, but love to race as teammates, Nichols said.
“It was amazing (to see Greenwood second),” he said. “We’ve been dreaming about it.”
Nichols and Greenwood were followed by Rodriguez of Knappa (16:15.8), Alex McIntyre of Weston-McEwen (16:19.4) and Union teammates Eli Williams (16:24.8) and Taylor Fox (16:28.0).