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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation December 11, 2017

10/31/2017 12:58:00 PM
Outlaws runners impress at District
The Outlaws boys team took the District title last weekend. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
The Outlaws boys team took the District title last weekend. photo by Jerry Baldock

Ethan Hosang and Jordan Pollard pushed hard in a triumphant victory. photo by Charlie Kanzig
+ click to enlarge
Ethan Hosang and Jordan Pollard pushed hard in a triumphant victory. photo by Charlie Kanzig

By Rongi Yost

One year after its worst showing in nearly two decades, the Sisters Outlaws boys cross-country team made a complete comeback, with an emphatic victory at the Sky-Em District Meet held at Lane Community College in Eugene Thursday, October 26.

The cool foggy day did nothing to dampen the fire of the young Outlaws squad as Jordan Pollard and Ethan Hosang went out to the lead with Sweet Home's Tanner Sayers right from the line. They dictated the pace. The rest of the Outlaws scorers bided their time in the pack, doing what they have done all year with even pacing and tough finishes while letting the over-eager runners from Cottage Grove and Elmira burn themselves up in the first half. The result was a double-digit victory, predicted by Coach Josh Nordell before the meet.

Sisters won the meet with 40 points, 13 ahead of Cottage Grove (53), who edged Elmira (55) for the second state berth by just two points. Sweet Home finished fourth (95), Junction City fifth (96) and Sutherlin sixth (172).

"These guys have a lot of toughness, but they are also savvy," he said. "They run smart and push hard when it counts."

Pollard pulled away to win his second consecutive individual crown in 16:23, five seconds ahead of Sayers. Hosang pushed through to a personal best in third place in 16:33.

"We're pretty sure Sayers was taken a little by surprise to see Ethan pushing the pace and even running out front in the first two miles of the race," said Nordell. "He ran an awesome race."

Pollard appeared to be completely in control, running in training shoes due to a sore heel. For comparison, Pollard ran 16:53 a year ago on the same course, indicating he is surely stronger than ever. He remains one of the favorites in next week's state meet, along with John Kavulich of Scappoose, the state runner-up in 2016, and Robby Vos of Phoenix, who finished third behind Kavulich.

Pollard had an off day at last year's state meet where he finished 22nd, but came back in track to medal in both the 1,500 and 3,000 (along with Kavulich and Vos) and has put together a stellar season thus far, according to Nordell.

"Jordan has grown in so many ways," said Nordell. "He has put in the work, become a leader of the team and proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with."

All of Pollard's young varsity teammates ran personal bests to complete the team's dominant victory.

John Peckham came through with a monster personal best to finish eighth in 17:09, while fellow frosh Will Thorsett also pushed to a lifetime best to place thirteenth in 17:37. Josh Liddell ran a tremendous race and overcame a sudden bout of nausea in the final 200 meters to finish 15th in 17:52..

"It's sort of impressive to lose your breakfast and still run your best time," said Nordell. "I'm telling you, these boys are tough."

Yet another freshman, Vicente Rebolledo, came through in the sixth spot in 18:26 and Jack Berg finished seventh for the team in 18:41.

"Our goal was to have all seven of our guys beat Cottage Grove's fifth scorer and we came within two seconds of doing that," said Nordell.

Among 4A boys' teams, Sisters is considered among the top six to vie for one of the four state trophies according to the latest coaches' poll. Valley Catholic won last year and returns as the favorite despite having a nearly new line-up. Other contenders include Siuslaw, Crook County, Tillamook, and Stayton.

"These guys have been so impressive and so much fun to coach," said Nordell. "I mean, how do you go from fifth in your league one year to one of the top teams in the state the next? Of course, the answer is through discipline, camaraderie, and the willingness to do difficult, high-quality training."

Freshman Sam May made his mark at the meet. He ran an inspired race to finish second in the junior varsity race in 19:19, nearly a minute and a half faster than his previous best, to earn a spot as the alternate to the varsity team for the state meet.

"We have a pretty special group of young runners," said Nordell.

The Outlaws will toe the line at 11:50 a.m. on Saturday, November 4, at Lane Community College against 13 other 4A teams and a smattering of individual qualifiers. Teams that earned a ticket to the meet include Siuslaw, Crook County, Tillamook, Valley Catholic, Stayton, Newport, Cottage Grove, Marshfield, Estacada, Hidden Valley, Klamath Union, Baker, and Ontario.

"On paper the top teams look very similar," said Nordell. "It's going to be a really good competition for the teams and the individuals. We hope a lot of Outlaw fans will be able to come and cheer us on."

Tickets for the meet are $8 for adults and $5 for students. Complete information for the meet is available at

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