Tigers outkick the Vikings for key win
The NHS girls cross-country team holds off defending Pacific Conference champion Forest Grove for a narrow home victory
Newberg and Forest Grove have battled each other for the Pacific Conference dual-meet and district titles the past two years, so there was some tension when the rivals squared off as part of a three-way meet with McMinnville to kick off the 2013 campaign Sept. 18 at Newberg High School.
The race lived up to the hype, with the Vikings making a move in the final mile to put its top two runners ahead of Tigers No. 1 runner Debora DeLeon, but strong kicks by seniors Savannah Stanton and Margaret Halstead helped Newberg take the next four places and eke out a 26-29 victory.
When they came by me with 400 to go, Margaret (Halstead) was racing their No. 3 girl and Savannah (Stanton) was like 30 yards behind, head coach Bruce Sinkbeil said. It turns out (Stanton) catches both of them and Margaret passes their girl right at the finish line. So we ended up having four girls in front of their third and thats what won us the meet.
Whitney Rich of McMinnville cruised to the overall win in 20:08.3, but Newberg and Forest Grove took the next 13 spots to make for easy 20-42 and 20-43 victories over the Grizzlies, respectively.
DeLeon was the Tigers top finisher at fourth overall (20:57.7), with twin sister Rebeca not far behind in fifth (21:05.4).
Stantons strong kick carried her to sixth in 21:16.9, with Halstead (21:24.8) edging Viking Kimberly by two tenths of a second for seventh place.
Freshman Grace Hanna had an impressive debut, placing ninth in 21:43.1 to beat Forest Groves fifth runner by just under 14 seconds.
It was an encouraging start for a team that is looking to qualify for the state meet for the third consecutive year and that knew the duel with Forest Grove would be the most important match of the regular season.
They knew this was the week they really had to go for it, Sinkbeil said. For a while now they dont have to have tough, tough races. They were keyed up.
Unfortunately, there was little drama in the boys race, as the Vikings put four runners in the top five to beat McMinnville 24-32 and Newberg 18-37. The Grizzlies also topped the Tigers 21-37.
Dan Harper led the way for Newberg, slashing 1:09.5 from his time at the Festival of Champions four days earlier to finish sixth in 17:28.5
Harrison Carsh was ninth overall in 17:51.8, followed by Quinton Read in 13th (18:07.2), Mike Miller in 15th (18:15.7) and Jared Read in 16th (18:35.9).
Hes never been that fast this early, so he needed that, Sinkbeil said of Harper. He just had to finally bust out and he did. Harrison getting under 18:00 two meets in a row is a big deal. And Read, thats a decent time for a freshman. Theyre kind of rounding into shape.
Newberg will travel to Century to take on the Jaguars and Glencoe in a three-way meet at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.