Oregon - Washington Border Clash

   Nathan Weitz leads Washington pack. Pic by Colleen Collins 

The 2011 Border Clash had a familiar ring to it, as Washington runners once again dominated the top finishers among both the girls’ and guys’ races.   The guys led off and right away the Oregon squad was compromised, when sophomore Kyle Thompson fell early and was never able to get into the race.  With the Oregon 6A champion out of it Oregon received a compromise it hardly needed, while Foot Locker finalist Nathan Weitz pushed the pace almost from the canon. 

    Though it was early in the race Weitz was at the front of a pack, which included only white singlet from Oregon against the sea of Washington green.    Izaic Yorks of Lakes raced off Nathan’s shoulder, while Anthony Armstrong of Kamiakin was tucked safely just behind.   Santos Vargas of Eisenhower was up with the leaders along with J P Wolpert, Sumner Goodwin, Alex Kinsey & (I think) Hunter Johnson.  Only  Travis Neuman of Summit could be seen with the pack – his head band making him stick out in the group thankfully to aid our recognition.

    They rolled through the mile in 4:47, while the Nike broadcast team blathered about non-race subjects.   Take a note please Nike:   the talking heads are not the story on race day.   Hint the young runners are supposed to be the story.   Amazingly with all the banter going on Nathan Weitz kept to the task at hand, which was to make sure the pace was brisk enough to offer no great surprises at the end.   

   The pack reached the bridge at the 6:49 mark of the race with Nathan now leading Armstrong & Yorks, as everyone else had dropped back.    From that point on it was a three-man duel ,  although a group was strung out behind them should any one falter.   That said there would be no real change until the twelve minute mark, when Armstrong moved to the front.   That lead was short-lived, for Izaic Yorks took command just 25 seconds later and elicited a prompt response from his rivals. 

      They rounded the wide U-turn at the end of the soccer field and headed down the final straight, where Nathan Weitz burst into the lead ready for a long & sustained kick.  The strain was evidenced on his face just as it was on Armstrong, who took off after him, while Izaic Yorks showed nothing but calm reserve on his face, although he had fallen a good five meters behind quite quickly.

      It was a far different situation than three weeks ago, when the trio took off down the final stretch in the State meet and Yorks was left behind.   Last week Armstrong overhauled Yorks not far from the finish (no Nike Nathan Weitz did not run in Boise last weekend as reported by their crew) but on Sunday Izaic appeared almost placid, as he must have been planning his response.    With thirty meters to go Armstrong had caught Weitz just before Yorks swept by both of the leaders.   For an instant it appeared, as if he had pulled off a surprise, yet Anthony somehow found a reserve to reassert himself just before the wire.   Both Armstrong and Yorks were credited with 13:48 with Weitz just behind in 13:49.   If nothing else Izaic proved that he belongs in the national conversation with his noted rivals and we can only hope they all take on the challenge of the very best at Foot Locker on an honest course as well.

      Coming in fourth was Santos Vargas, who ran 14:00 to edge Hunter Johnson.  Curtis King finished a second later to take six with Sumner Goodwin another second behind.   Patrick Gibson placed eighth in 14:03 and Travis Neuman of Summit became the only member of his state to earn top ten honors.  Keith Williams followed in tenth (14:08) and Korey Krotzer earned eleventh.   Kai Wilmot & Joe Hardy of Washington seized the next two spots and then Jackson Baker, who had been in the top ten by mid-race, followed in fourteenth place in a time of 14:14.  J  P Wolpert (14:17) earned fifteenth.

       The start to the guys’ race had some problems but it was far better than what the girls would suffer.   

Pomp being a big thing drummers began banging prior to the start of the race, which caused some runners to take off early.   Had a USATF official been on hand the race would certainly have been called back but instead the cannon quickly sounded and the usual mad stampede to the center of the soccer field began in earnest.   It is always a cause of concern to see spikes flying as runners merge from different  direction of the course, but happily there appear to have been no injuries.   The incongruous start left numerous runners out of position and two of them appeared to be Maddie Meyers & Amy-Eloise Neale.  Still the race was on and everyone was, sort of, in it.

       The young ladies race saw Katie Knight of North Central zip off to the front and, although that in itself was hardly a surprise, the fact that only Jordan McPhee went with her was definitely a different script.   Lately, if Katie is near the front, Amy-Eloise Neale has been with her.   One or the other always seems to have been in the lead in recent races, yet Amy-Eloise held back early as did 2010 BC winner Maddie Meyers , who is pointing to Foot Locker.   For Jordan on the other hand it had to have been a bit different, because she has won all her early races handily including her 4A State meet, where she broke the record by herself.

    Well, if central casting had rewritten the parts, the early story appeared quite familiar with Katie Knight setting the pace and a solo challenger in hot pursuit.   The role of Amy-Eloise Neale may have been taken over by Jordan McPhee but it was hard to tell the difference for there was Jordan responding to every move, which her rival made.   Three minutes into the race and there was a distinct separation with the two leaders firmly in control but Katie solidly in the lead as well.  

    After six minutes it was more of the same with the next closest runner being a good twenty meters back.   They passed the mile with the announcers failing to take note at first & then finally stating a mark of 6:21, which surely could not have been.   Whatever had transpired there was no change up front and, when they crossed the bridge at the 9:30 mark~ Katie was in the lead with Jordan McPhee in tow. 

     It was only after the two mile mark that Amy-Eloise had gotten untracked and moved into second place.   The early pace was finally taking its toll on the valiant McPhee but she was still gamely holding on, while the race was beginning to take shape a little further back.    Maddie Meyers had moved through the pack and was in fourth, while Gracie Todd of Sheldon in Oregon held sixth.   

     Katie Knight did not let up and she finished in 15:44, well under last year’s winning time of 16:10 incidentally and her own time of 16:13, and Amy-Eloise Neal secured second in 15:58.  Jordan McPhee followed in third with 16:10.   Maddie Meyers had looked as if  fourth would be hers but Alexa Efraimson, who had made a mad dash to catch a number of runners in the last 300 meters, came from about fifteen meters behind  to overtake Meyers just before the finish.   Of course in Maddie’s defense BC was not a high priority & it was probably less of one after the start.  Alexa was timed in 16:16 & Maddie 16:17, while in 16:19 came Sara Tsai, who was Oregon’s top finisher for the day.    Chandler Olson (16:27) & Stephanie Rexus (28) garnered seventh & eighth for Washington.  

    This year has been a fine year both the girls’ teams of both Summit & South Eugene and they underscored that theme on Sunday, for, when the Oregon girls were on the verge of being overwhelmed by their rivals from Washington, the answer for the Beaver-Ducks was to Dial S:   Summit & South Eugene got the Save.   Following were Erin Clark of South Eugene (recall Sara Tsai is from SE as well) in 16:31 plus the Summit duo of Ashley Maton and Megan Fristoe, who earned tenth & eleventh and were credited with 16:33.  

     Megan Fristoe & Ashley MAton pic by Colleen Collins

  Katie Bianchini of Glacier Peak began another parade of Washingtonians across the line including Alexis Fuller (13th) and only Gracie Todd’s 18th place finished in the top twenty.   Somewhat appropriately piper McDonald of Summit finished in 24th and was the only other Oregonian in the top 25.   The girls’ score was a perfect 15 for Washington to 48 for Oregon.    The guys were shut out 15 to fifty. 

    Raceday brought out a fiar number of fans & coaches, who helped give the race a bit of a reunion atmosphere.  Also on hand were a number of the race alumni including Galen Rupp plus, according to rumor, Kenny Klotz, who is still the only athlete to win two titles.   On hand were Jennifer Macias & Casey Masterson, who each represented Oregon four times.

Jen Macias & Casey Masterson by Colleen Collins


Boys Results

1  Anthony Armstrong                   Washington                        13:48

2  Izaic Yorks                                       Washington                        13:38

2  Nathan Weitz                                                Washington                        13:49

4 Santos Vargas                                                Washington                        14:00

5 Hunter Johnson                            Washington                        14:00

6  Curtis King                                      Washington                        14:01

7  Sumner Goodwin                        Washington                        14:02

8 Patrick Gibson                                Washington                        14:03

9 Travis Neuman                              Oregon                                 14:04

10 Keith Williams                              Washington                        14:08

11 Korey Krotzer                              Washington                        14:10


                                Girls Results

1 Katie Knight                                    Washington                        15:44

2 Amy-Eloise Neale                         Washington                        15:58

3 Jordan McPhee                             Washington                        16:10

4 Alexa Efraimson                            Washington                        16:16

5 Maddie Meyers                            Washington                        16:17

6 Sara Tsai                                           Oregon                                 16:19

7 Chandler Olson                              Washington                        16:27

8 Stephanie Rexus                           Washington                        16:28

9 Erin Clark                                          Oregon                                 16:31

10 Ashley Maton                              Oregon                                 16:33

11 Megan Fristoe                             Oregon                                 16:33