The Outlaws cross-country teams had a busy week with two meets within four days against many of the best 3A and 4A teams in the state.

Wednesday, the teams traveled to Silver Falls State Park for the Oktoberfest Invitational, which featured some of the fastest individuals of the young season. 

Ella Bartlett, along with two Valley Catholic and one East Linn Christian runners, broke away from the rest of the field of 82 runners, and battled one another throughout the course. Jaya Simmons of Valley Catholic ultimately pulled away for the win, while Bartlett finished fourth in 19:40. 

Race directors indicated the course was slightly under 5,000 meters. 

Like Sisters, Valley Catholic also moved to the 3A classification from 4A this year. 

Other finisher scorers for the Outlaws included Brooke Duey (22:39), Nevaeh McAfee (23:08), Delaney McAfee (25:07) and Mae Roth (25:37). 

The girls finished second in the small schools division behind Valley Catholic, and third overall.

The boys’ race played out similarly, as Hayden Roth joined a group of four other runners that gapped the field from the start. Roth placed fifth in the field of 110 finishers in 16:42. 

Cole Jervis (18:37), John Berg (19:19), Daniel Miller (20:08), and Eli Palanuk (21:23) rounded out the scoring. Sisters ended up fourth in the small schools division and sixth overall among 14 complete teams. 

At Saturday’s Northwest Classic, held at Lane Community College in Eugene, the Outlaws tested themselves against teams from the 4A/3A/2A/1A ranks, including some of the top finishers at last year’s state meet. 

Once again, Bartlett found herself among the lead group, and ended up placing seventh behind six of the top 4A runners in Oregon. She took first among her rivals from the 3A/2A/1A classification in 20:43. 

Illness and injury among the girls team prevented Sisters from having a complete team. Brooke Duey had a breakout run with a huge personal best and finished 15th (21:26) among 103 racers. Nevaeh McAfee (23:23) and Mae Roth (25:22) placed 47th and 68th. 

For the boys, the top teams ended up looking like a reunion of last year’s 4A state meet with four of the top five schools toeing the line together, though Siuslaw and Sisters, the top finishers at state are now in the 3A ranks. 

Wyatt Montgomery of La Pine sprinted from the line and took a huge lead for much of the race, but relinquished the individual title to Ben Hernandez (16:16) of Philomath by the end. Hayden Roth finished eighth with a lifetime best on a true 5,000 meter course in 16:57 as the third 3A finisher. 

Cole Jervis (18:38), John Berg (19:06), Ace Chew (19:15), and Eli Palanuk (20:52) helped the Outlaws finish fourth overall among 15 teams. Philomath won the meet, followed by Siuslaw (3A) and Cottage Grove. 

The Outlaws continue their quest to get acquainted with teams from the 3A/2A/1A classification with the Champs Invite in Lebanon, set for Friday, September 23 at Cheadle Lake Park. The meet includes a total of 44 teams, all from the 3A/2A/1A classification.