Ella Thorsett keeping pace with Philomath’s Hannah Hernandez at the Creekside Invitational. Thorsett got the best of Hernandez for the first time on her way to second place in the meet. photo by Charlie Kanzig
Ella Thorsett keeping pace with Philomath’s Hannah Hernandez at the Creekside Invitational. Thorsett got the best of Hernandez for the first time on her way to second place in the meet. photo by Charlie Kanzig
The Sisters Outlaws girls cross-country team tuned up for the Oregon West District Championships with a meet on the beautiful Creekside Golf Course in Salem on Wednesday, October 23.

Ella Thorsett and Kate Bowen each had breakout races. Thorsett, fellow freshman Olive Nye of Bend High and senior Hannah Hernandez of Philomath broke away from the field early and battled throughout the hilly, tree-lined course. Nye got the win in 18:15.9 with Thorsett on her heels in 18:19.1. Hernandez came through in 18:30.

For Thorsett, it was not only the fastest time of her career, but the first time in three meetings she placed ahead of Hernandez, who until Wednesday had been the top runner in the Oregon West Conference. The pair are likely to lock horns again at District Saturday, November 2.

Beyond that, Thorsett now owns the top time among all 4A girls along with Anika Thompson of Junction City, who ran basically the same time (18:19.8) on the same day at a different meet.

“Ella is a competitor, plain and simple,” said Head Coach Josh Nordell. “She ran a smart race strategically and just keeps getting faster.”

Bowen, who finished seventh at state last year, two places behind Hernandez, ran her fastest 5,000 meters since moving to Oregon in early 2018 on her way to sixth place in 19:06.7.

“It was so good to see Kate get back into her best running,” said Nordell. “She and Ella run stride for stride in our hardest workouts, so I knew the time would come when pieces would start to fall into place for her again. It’s been a while since we’ve seen her smile after a race.”

The results for the rest of the Outlaws scorers in the race was a bit mixed. Number-three runner Emma Singleton struggled a bit due to a lingering sickness and finished well below her best with a time of 22:15, just behind Pearl Gregg, who ran a season-best of 22:11.

Skylar Wilkins ran a personal record of 22:34 and Sadie Sharp came through the line four places later in 22:49.

Iris Diez ran a season best as the seventh runner for the team, clocking 23:40.1. Annie Cohen ran 23:17 in the junior varsity race to earn the seventh spot on the roster for District.

As a team the Outlaws placed seventh, right in the middle of the pack of fourteen complete teams, tallying 150 points. Bend High won the meet with 74 points, while Philomath, the second-ranked 4A girls team, placed second with 83.

Stayton, the other Oregon West team in the meet, placed sixth with 128 points.

“Overall, we did well and the girls know what they need to do in order to get to State again,” said Nordell. “Philomath is the favorite for first place at District and we are going to go to battle with Stayton for that second qualifying spot,” he said.

The girls varsity race kicks off the District meet at 11:30 on Saturday, November 2 on a course established behind Stayton Middle School. Admission is free.