Lincoln's girls team celebrates its first-place finish Saturday in the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational. (Courtesy photo)
Lincoln's girls team celebrates its first-place finish Saturday in the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational. (Courtesy photo)

Lincoln's girls cross country team finally got the best of a familiar nemesis Saturday in the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational at Lakewood High School in Arlington, Wash.

The Cardinals, who have finished one place behind Jesuit in the last four 6A championship meets, outscored the reigning state champion Crusaders 62-94 to win the 21-team event. Jesuit and Lincoln are ranked first and second, respectively, in the OSAAtoday 6A coaches poll.

“We went in with expectations that we could compete with Jesuit, but actually doing it is a different thing,” Cardinals coach Eric Dettman said. “We had a specific race plan we wanted to execute. We were excited to be able to execute it in the last 2,000 meters.”

Lincoln freshman Ellery Lincoln was the top Oregon finisher, taking third place in 17:33.6. She came in behind two Washington runners in East Valley (Spokane) senior Logan Hofstee (17:11.2) and Skyline senior Anna Callahan (17:26.3).

The Cardinals also got strong performances from junior Sophia Malinoski (12th), sophomore Elyse Henriksen (14th) and senior Keira Saavedra (15th). Jesuit's top runners were junior Emma Bennett (11th), freshman Maeva O'Scannlain (16th) and senior Liliana Hudnut (17th).

Dettman said the Cardinals didn't want to get too caught up in the team race, instead focusing on what they could control.

“We wanted to put ourselves in a position to be successful early, but know that we had something left to get to the finish line,” Dettman said. “That was our big emphasis.”

Ellery Lincoln's time was a personal best by 30 seconds and ranks third in the state this season behind junior Emily Wisniewski (16:33.8) of 5A Crescent Valley and junior Chloe Huyler (17:25.6) of 6A Lakeridge.

Lincoln, who attended Catlin Gabel School before enrolling at Lincoln this year, has provided a boost for the Cardinals. She showed her closing speed Saturday, when she was 27 seconds out of third place with 1,000 meters left but rallied to take third by 2.5 seconds over senior Nelah Roberts of Skyline (Idaho).

“She's really fun to watch,” Dettman said of Lincoln. “Just the way she races. She's that type of girl, when she sees the finish line, she just transforms into this super human. She can do some pretty special things.”

Saavedra, who placed fourth at state last year, raced conservatively Saturday because of tightness in her calf.

“I don't know that she necessarily raced to her ability level, but some of that was on purpose,” Dettman said. “We expect she'll be in the hunt to do some special things at the state meet.”

Malinoski was 14th at state in 2022 and is coming off a track season in which she placed seventh in the 800 and ninth in the 1,500 at the 6A championships.

Dettman, who is in his 11th season as coach, said this year's team has the potential to be his best.

“They're so close and they're so dynamic,” he said. “There's certainly a different sense of confidence that comes with this squad. I think Ellery helps with some of that, and some of those other kids are taking that next step. Just combined, all of them have fed off that energy of each other and raced at a really high level.”

The Cardinals won their only state title in 1978 and have finished second seven times, including last year, when Jesuit outpointed them 40-98 at the state meet. They are hoping to break through this season.

“If we do what we're capable of, I think things are going to turn out pretty well for us,” Dettman said. “We learned from track and field last year with the boys winning a state title. We didn't talk about winning, we just went out and took care of our business. And I think we're replicating that with our girls.”

The Cardinals will race Friday in the Rose City Championship Invitational at Rose City Golf Course. Dettman said the Cardinals won't run a full squad, but Ellery Lincoln will get a chance to square off against Wisniewski and Huyler.

The Cardinals are looking to dominate the Portland Interscholastic League district meet. They will try to beat the 17 points they scored in winning district in 1994, when assistant coach Marie Davis Markham was a senior on the team.

“That's our goal,” Dettman said.

Add Hole in the Wall

Jesuit finished second in the boys race at Hole in the Wall, scoring 86 points to finish behind Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (68). The Crusaders were led by senior Caden Swanson (third-15:14.9) and sophomore Matthew Wroblewski (13th-15:37.6).

Harrier Classic

Lakeridge junior Chloe Huyler recorded the second-best girls time in the state this season in leading her team to a victory in the Harrier Classic on Saturday at Bryant Park in Albany.

Huyler finished in 17:25.6, well ahead of the runner-up, East Linn Christian junior Daisy Lalonde (18:13.0). Huyler took 25 seconds off her personal best.

The Pacers dominated the 22-team event, outscoring second-place Crescent Valley 37-111. Junior Hannah Huyler finished fifth, senior Olivia Smith took ninth and sophomore Grace Houlihan was 12th for Lakeridge.

Central sophomore Ty Cirino was the boys race, clocking 15:12.9 to edge Sheldon senior Adam Reeder (15:15.6. Cirino and Reeder have the No. 7 and No. 9 times in the state, resectively.

Jefferson (6A) held off Sherwood 141-145 to place first among 26 boys teams. The Democrats were led by senior Sam Roy, who placed 10th.

Paul Mariman Invitational

Philomath's girls had seven of the top 14 finishers in winning the nine-team Paul Mariman Invitational on Saturday at Philomath High School. Philomath junior Adele Beckstead (19:56.6) won the race and sophomore teammate Ana Candanoza (20:10.5) was second.

Cottage Grove junior Carter Bengtson, who leads 4A this season, dominated the boys race. Bengtson blitzed to victory in 15:59.7, comfortably ahead of Newport juniors Noah Larson (17:26.1) and Connor Brown (17:29.5).

Newport beat second-place The Dalles 38-66 for the team title in the 14-team event.

Stayton Regis Invitational

Sophomore Amin Diani finished first to lead the Banks boys to a victory in the 15-team Regis Stayton Invitational on Thursday at Stayton Middle School.

Diani (17:17.1) turned back Santiam Christian sophomore Diego Zambrano by two seconds. The Braves beat runner-up Monroe 71-76.

Banks also got a win in the seven-team girls race from sophomore Sophie Schoolmeester (20:17.5). Sisters sophomore Brooke Duey (21:19.2) and freshman Josie Ryan (21:20.2) were next.

Sisters won the team title with 34 points. Stayton and Banks tied for second with 55.