After a number of close calls this season, the Outlaws boys cross-country team finally got the best of the Philomath Warriors as the two teams battled hammer and tongs at the Oregon West District Cross-Country Championships held on Saturday, November 2 at Stayton.

Sisters edged Philomath behind the 1-2 punch of John Peckham and Will Thorsett and a timely season-best by Ethan Hosang.

“All seven of our guys ran great, but we really got a boost in particular from Ethan today,” said Coach Josh Nordell following the meet.

Sisters scored 39 points to edge Philomath’s 43 as both teams advanced to next week’s OSAA State Championships, where they will face off again to contend for the state title. The two teams are considered by many to be the top two teams in the state among 4A schools.

Newport finished third (62), followed by Sweet Home (110), Stayton (117), Woodburn (199) and Cascade (200).

Peckham (16:10) and Thorsett (16:19) broke away from Stayton’s Ben Kirby (16:33) by the final mile to lead the Outlaws. Hosang pulled through with his best time of the year in 10th place (16:55) one place ahead of Josh Liddell (17:00), the only senior on the varsity team, Vicente Rebolledo completed the scoring for the Outlaws in 15th place in a time of 17:18. Sam May (17:59) placed 22nd and Max Palanuk came through next in 18:03 as the sixth and seventh placers for the team.

“Our lead guys helped thwart the Philomath pack of four that took sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth, and our other guys placed close enough to those guys for us to manage the win,” said Nordell. “We knew it would be close, and I am proud of these young men for pushing for the win.”

Sisters will face the other 11 state qualifying 4A teams at Lane Community College on Saturday, November 9. Beyond Sisters and Philomath, other trophy contenders include Siuslaw, Marist Catholic, Baker, and Klamath Union.

The highest a Sisters boys team has placed at state is third.

The race for the individual title centers on Peckham and Thorsett who enter the meet with the top two times among 4A runners. Challengers include Kale Cassidy of Baker High School who won the 3,000 meters at last spring’s state track meet, as well as Marist runners Wiley Watts and Evan Villano, and Stayton’s Ben Kirby.

No Outlaw has ever won the individual state title in cross-country.

“It’s going to be exciting for the Outlaws on many levels,” said Nordell.

All classifications gather at Lane for the championships starting with the 1A/2A/3A girls at 10 a.m. The 4A boys’ race starts at 12:20 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the meet or on the OSAA.org website.