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Warriors run well in Oregon

Whittell High’s cross country team discovered over the weekend that they are mudders.

In a meet more suited for pigs than runners, the Warrior boys finished 11th out of 34 teams Saturday in Yamhill County, Ore.

“Chad (Gerken) has so much mud on him that he had to hold his pants for the last quarter mile or they would have fallen down around his ankles,” said WHS coach Brian Rippet.



Even though it was a warm sunny day near the Oregon coast, the slick trails combined with trick downhills and creeks to spill even the suspecting runenrs.

“It’s rated the toughest course in the nation by Youth Runner Magazine,” Rippet said. “They all loved it and they definitely want to go back.”



Ben Johnson led the Whittell mudders by finishing 17th in a 5-kilometer survival race with a field of 216 runners. Johnson’s time of 21 minutes, 1 second was closely followed by Gerken, who placed 23rd in 21:31. They were pursued by Brian Bebee 58th, 23:08; Daniel Mitchell, 61st, 23:17; and Mike Komorowski, 105th, 26:04.

In the girls race, Christina Arana and Kim McGlothlin continued their friendly rivalry with Arana coming in 34th, 30:30, and McGlothlin, 57th, 31:33.

Rippet’s most determined runner of the day was Alexis Abelow, who pulled herself down a slick hill on her knees, passing four runners in the process.

Afterward, Abelow told Rippet, ‘That was fun and that will heal,” pointing to her bloody knees. She finished 140th out of 160 runners in 42:32. Katlin Willens came in 139th in 42:25. The Warriors were one runner shy or posting a complete score.

Next up for the Warriors is a meet Friday in Fernley, then a big one Saturday in Wells. Wells is the two-time defending zone and state champions, and last year’s state runner-up Faith Lutheran is also expected to compete.

“It should be kind of a showdown with four weeks to go in season,” Rippet said.


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