The sophomore ends a five-year drought with his appearance Nov. 2 in Eugene, where he placed 51st with a time of 16:54.

by: JEFF GOODMAN / FILE - Steven Cranston (8), shown at the Three Rivers League district finals in Oregon City, placed 51st at the Class 6A state championships Nov. 2 at Lane Community College in Eugene.Steven Cranston has had several conversations with assistant coach Bob Webber about making the Canby boys cross-country team a source of pride for the school again.

Cranston is certainly doing his part.

The sophomore ended the program’s five-year drought of state representation with his appearance at the Class 6A championships Nov. 2 at Lane Community College in Eugene, where he took 51st place with a time of 16 minutes 54 seconds.

He was the Cougars’ first state qualifier on the boys side since 2007.

“We’ve just been talking about how we’d like to bring the team back to where we’re relevant again,” Cranston said. “And it’s really humbling to be the guy to do that. I couldn’t have done it without a lot of my teammates and coaches.”

Cranston was hoping to have his teammates join him in the state race, but Canby did not advance as a group after placing third at the Three Rivers League finals. Cranston earned one of the district’s four individual bids to the OSAA meet.

“I felt a responsibility,” he said. “It was a privilege to represent the team. It was really humbling. I just considered it a great opportunity. It’s almost like a blessing.”

Cranston became the ninth individual qualifier for the Cougars on the boys side in coach Tom Millbrooke’s 29-year tenure, joining Jeff Peterson (1987), Shawn Cross (1989-90), Corry Stutzman (1993), Will Smith (1994), Ralph Boeckman (1994), Buck Stone (2000), Dennis Brands (2001) and Nick Petshow (2007).

Cranston’s name is now included on the program’s list of runners with sub-17-minute marks in state competition.

He cracked 17:00 for the third time this season, coming close to the personal-best 16:41.15 that he clocked Sept. 21 in Oregon City. He ran a 16:45.05 to place eighth at the district meet.

Cranston didn’t prepare for the state finals like many of his fellow competitors. Eschewing the pump-up music that is common on many pre-race playlists, Cranston prefers relaxing to the sounds of the Beach Boys and other mellow tunes.

“A lot of the guys try to get jacked before the race,” he said. “I just like to chill out.”

As he listened to Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” prior to the race, the skies unleashed a torrent of rain. The precipitation subsided by the time the 6A boys were called to the starting line.

In slightly windy conditions, Cranston set out on his 5,000-meter journey on relatively flat terrain.

“I really liked the course — I just wasn’t feeling my best,” he said. “It was definitely a learning experience. I don’t feel like I had my best race ever, by far, but I did make the sub-17-minute list. I’m happy about that.”

Cranston finished 1:32 behind state champion Kyle Thompson, who led Central Catholic to a team title with 33 points. TRL representatives West Linn (148) and Portland-Grant (157) placed fifth and sixth, respectively.

On the girls side, Grant sophomore Ella Donaghu won a state champioship in 18:01 — 24 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Sunset (56) defeated St. Mary’s Academy (71) for the team title.

TRL representatives Grant (108) and Clackamas (259) placed fifth and 11th, respectively.



Class 6A state championships

Nov. 2 at Lane Community College (Eugene)

BOYS (team scores): 1. Central Catholic, 33; 2. Sheldon, 94; 3. South Eugene, 118; 4. Aloha, 148; 5. West Linn, 148; 6. Grant, 157; 7. Forest Grove, 168; 8. Lincoln, 177; 9. Glencoe, 181; 10. Reynolds, 271; 11. South Salem, 300; 12. West Salem, 328.

Individual champion: Kyle Thompson, Central Catholic, 15:22.

Canby: 51. Steven Cranston, 16:54.

GIRLS (team scores): 1. Sunset, 56; 2. St. Mary’s Academy, 71; 3. South Eugene, 97; 4. Jesuit, 99; 5. Grant, 108; 6. Sheldon, 166; 7. Forest Grove, 220; 8. Gresham, 237; 9. Tigard, 239; 10. West Salem, 251; 11. Clackamas, 259; 12. South Salem, 301.

Individual champion: Ella Donaghu, Grant, 18:01.

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