EUGENE — With the finish line in sight over the final 100 meters, Philomath High School senior Jensen Davis had to dig deep to fight off other runners and remain among the top 20.
"I didn't know people were so close behind me and when they started passing me, I freaked out a little bit," Jensen said following Saturday's Class 4A state meet at Lane Community College. "I started to sprint a little and made it past one guy there at the end."
Davis beat out Tillamook's Isaias Loza to finish 20th in 17:22.
"I think he was as high as 15th for a good portion of the race but unfortunately, he's not a sprinter. He's more of a long-distance runner so he didn't realize there were guys feeding off each other with 100 meters to go," PHS coach Joe Fulton said. "They started their kick and it kind of caught him by surprise ... but he raced hard all the way."
Davis was the only Philomath runner in this year's boys' race with the Warriors failing to advance a full team to state for the first time since 1983.
"I was feeling pretty good for the race, especially the end part of it," Davis said. "I don't know why, but in the beginning I was really getting into it and in the end, it felt good."
Crook County won the meet with Oregon West Conference schools Stayton in second and Newport finishing third. Those were the two teams that ended Philomath's state-qualifying streak. The Cubs beat out Philomath on a tiebreaker that came down to the sixth runner.
"It gives you an idea of how our boys would've done had they been able to advance because they run close to Jensen," Fulton said.
Scappoose's John Kavulich won the race in 16:23. Stayton's Matthew Frazeur was the top finisher out of the conference with fourth in 16:47.
The Philomath High girls were hoping for a top four finish but the squad's top runner, Hannah Hernandez, struggled with a time about two minutes off her personal-best. The Warriors ended up seventh.
"I'm in shape, so there's no reason that I should've been two minutes off my time," Hernandez said. "So it was definitely mental."
Hernandez had come into state with one of the top times in all of 4A. But in Eugene, she finished 28th with a time of 20:44.
"Something got in her head about a third of the way into the race and she just checked out, which is very unusual for her," Fulton said. "But then that means she's got that out of the way. Everybody has at least one bad race and unfortunately, hers was at state."
Hernandez said she made a mistake by starting out the race in front and added that she should've tucked behind the lead runners. She was running on pace but then the internal battle started.
"I felt tired and instead of being mentally tough, I think I just snapped out of it and that's what caused me to progressively keep getting passed and passed," she said. "And when you're getting passed, I think that can be kind of (demoralizing)."
Sophomore Rivers Nuno was the team's second-best runner with 42nd in 21:31. Freshman Sarah McDaniel put in a good showing for 46th in 21:43.
"I think it went really well and I think the girls definitely worked as a team together well this year and especially on this course," McDaniel said. "We were hoping to get top four and in the week leading up to this, we felt good. We weren't especially doing any super hard workouts and we were working up to this. It went pretty well."
Sophomore Madison Bushnell finished 50th in 21:52, sophomore Alexis Van Vlack turned in a 22:30 for 72nd, freshman Audrey Davis had a 23:30 for 90th and freshman Dani Beck was 100th in 24:14.
"I think they held their own," Fulton said. "They didn't place quite as high as I expected for some of them but they were out there fighting. Their times were comparable to what they've been doing this year."
Fulton said that in the past, he's noticed teams tend to struggle when the top runner doesn't do well and it can flow through the whole team.
"They rely on one another for sure," Fulton said. "Alexis had a pretty good race today because she knew she was our fifth runner and she had to do well. Alexis really fought it through when she's been in a little bit of a slump of late, but she stepped it up today."
The PHS girls cross-country team is extremely young with four sophomore and three freshmen running at state.
"The whole team's back and who knows, there are other runners in Philomath that could come out for cross-country," Fulton said.
Tillamook easily won the team title and had the top individual with Solace Bergeron covering the course in 18:44. Stayton, which finished behind Philomath at the Oregon West meet, was the top team out of the conference with sixth place. Stayton's Hailey Notman had a top-10 finish with sixth in 19:35.
Class 4A State Championships
Saturday at Eugene
Team scoring: 1, Crook County 80; 2, Stayton 96; 3, Newport 119; 4, Tillamook 121; 5, Valley Catholic 127; 6, Sisters 149; 7, Siuslaw 178; 8, Klamath Union 214; 9, Marshfield 232; 10, Baker 244; 11, Estacada 266; 12, Cottage Grove 274; 13, Hidden Valley 302; 14, Ontario 325.
Top 10 individuals: 1, John Kavulich, Scappoose, 16:23; 2, Jordan Pollard, Sisters, 16:34; 3, Robby Vos, Phoenix, 16:47; 4, Matthew Frazeur, Stayton, 16:47; 5, Tanner Sayers, Sweet Home, 16:49; 6, Tyler Anderson, Madras, 16:49; 7, Kolby Spink, Newport, 16:53; 8, Nate Schmidlin, Valley Catholic, 16:54; 9, Kale Cassidy, Baker, 16:55; 10, Casey Pugh, Stayton, 16:57.
PHS Results: 20, Jensen Davis, 17:22.
Team scoring: 1, Tillamook 37; 2, Scappoose 108; 3, La Grande 111; 4, Sisters 148; 5, Siuslaw 152; 6, Stayton 177; 7, Philomath 189; 8, South Umpqua 206; 9, Crook County 219; 10, Klamath Union 220; 11, Estacada 236; 12, Elmira 265; 13, Baker 297; 14, Henley 314.
Top 10 individuals: 1, Solace Bergeron, Tillamook, 18:44; 2, Linnaea Kavulich, Scappoose, 19:04; 3, Jazmin Chavez, Marshfield, 19:30; 4, Jan Carne, Crook County, 19:33; 5, Taylor Isaac, Valley Catholic, 19:34; 6, Hailey Notman, Stayton, 19:35; 7, Kara Putnam, Tillamook, 19:39; 8, Phoebe Brown, Tillamook, 19:39; 9, Kaylee Delzotti, Marshfield, 19:47; 10, Kaitlin Cook, Elmira, 19:47.
PHS Results: 28, Hannah Hernandez, 20:44; 42, Rivers Nuno, 21:31; 46, Sarah McDaniel, 21:43; 50, Madison Bushnell, 21:52; 72, Alexis Van Vlack, 22:30; 90, Audrey Davis, 23:30; 100, Dani Beck, 24:14.