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A fall to remember with five title teams
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A fall to remember with five title teams

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Led by an ultra-talented group of underclassmen, the Corvallis High girls cross-country team captured its first ever state title in the fall. While the Spartans’ team victory was a close one — they edged out runner-up Hood River Valley by just four points — Madeline Nason left no doubt as to who would win the individual race.

Nason, a sophomore, became the first runner in school history to win an individual cross-country title as she covered the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 51.60 seconds. It was nearly a 21-second personal-best time for Nason and was good for the 14th-best time in the state of Oregon by any runner.

Her victory came just one week after she finished as runner-up at the Mid-Willamette Conference meet.

After Nason, the Spartans placed a trio of freshman in the top 15: Ava Betts (eighth) Avery Nason (10th) and Ronja Soares (14th) all scored big points for the Spartans. Sophomore Vivienne McFarland Price (37th) rounded out the scoring for Corvallis, while Olivia Dever and Kaia Anspacher took 41st and 55th respectively.

Philomath boys cross-country

The Philomath boys cross-country team secured its first state title in nearly a decade thanks to a perfectly-executed strategy. The Warriors, who entered the state meet as slight underdogs, ran the race as a pack with the goal of finishing with five runners in front of meet favorite Sisters’ third runner.

As Philomath coach Joe Fulton said after the race, the Warriors "ran exactly to plan" and scored 65 points — five better than the second-place Outlaws. It was the school’s first boys cross-country title since 2010.

Philomath was led by standout freshman Brody Bushnell, who finished ninth in 16:20.20. Brody Gherig (15th place), Grant Hellesto (16th) Justin Enghauser (18th) and Sean Cummings (27th) rounded out the scoring pack of Warriors. Noah King (33rd) and Levi Knutson (40th) delivered strong races as well.

They were able to take home the title despite Sisters’ junior John Peckham winning the race in 15:48.70 and teammate Will Thorsett finishing third.

Santiam Christian football

The Santiam Christian football team delivered blowout win after blowout win all fall and cruised through an undefeated regular season. In the 3A state title game, though, the Eagles finally met their match in an up-tempo Hidden Valley team. For much of the game, SC appeared to be on the verge of suffering its first loss.

But the Eagles staged a dramatic fourth-quarter performance and topped the Mustangs, 41-34 at Roseburg High School to capture the 3A state title for the second time in school history.

Senior tailback Marcus Fullbright finished with 198 rushing yards on 28 carries. He scored five touchdowns, including the game-winner with less than a minute to go. Fullbright’s go-ahead score was set up several minutes earlier by a 53-yard scramble from sophomore quarterback Ely Kennel that tied the game.

Hidden Valley, which owned the highest-scoring offense in 3A, had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but the SC defense held strong and came up with a stop to secure the title.

The Eagles finished with a perfect 13-0 record and will return plenty of key figures from their title-winning squad next season.

Santiam Christian volleyball

There was only one way in which the Santiam Christian volleyball team could top its 2018 campaign that resulted in a state title: By going undefeated the next season.

The Eagles did just that and capped off a perfect 26-0 campaign by beating Creswell in straight sets and capturing the 3A title for the eighth time since 2009. SC was the only OSAA program to go undefeated this season, and it did not lose a single set during the postseason.

In the title match at Forest Grove, the Eagles topped the Bulldogs for the third time this season, winning 25-23, 25-14, 25-19. Junior Emily Bourne was named SC’s player of the match and finished with 20 kills and 12 digs.

Senior Kassie Staton had 17 kills, while senior Lauryn Peller had 11 digs and four assists. Senior Josie Risinger had 33 assists and 10 digs and credited the win to stellar team chemistry.

Crescent Valley girls soccer

For so much of the 2019 season, the pillar of the Crescent Valley girls soccer team was its star-studded defense. That talented back line helped the Raiders make a return to the 5A state title game, and once they got there, it was their star striker who finished the job.

Anna McClave coolly buried her chance during the fifth round of penalty kicks at Hillsboro Stadium to finish off Wilsonville and give the Raiders their second consecutive state title. CV (15-2-1) held a high-powered Wilsonville offense scoreless during regulation and a 10-minute overtime period.

Leaning heavily on a group of all-state seniors who were instrumental in winning the 2018 title, the Raiders used that experience to guide them through a tough schedule this time around. After falling to West Albany on Sept. 30, the Raiders did not lose another game the rest of the season and defeated The Dalles, Willamette and North Eugene in the postseason.

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