CORVALLIS —— The Central Panthers cross-country season wrapped up on Saturday at the Mid-Willamette Conference district meet at Crystal Lake Sports Park.
The boys and girls teams both finished in seventh place.
“They did about what I expected,” said head coach Eli Cirino. “We had a bunch of senior boys that had a bunch of personal records there, and it’s really satisfying to see them PR in their last race, makes it feel like the season was a success. Overall, like I’ve said all season, we’re not real competitive as a group, but I’m sad to see it ending because it’s been such a fun group to work with. Even as I’m trying to get serious, they’re running around and being goofy and playing games. So, overall pretty solid day. We are done. Hopefully we keep most of these kids going for track.”
Senior Sean Stephenson, who took 28th place in 17:43.60, was the first of the Panthers to finish.
Going into this race, Stephenson wanted to run under 18 minutes, and he did that for the first time this season: a personal best.
“It went really well,” he said.
His plan was to go conservative on the first mile and then pick it up from there, but “I failed on that plan,” he said. “I went out really fast. It’s hard when everyone else is going out fast in the beginning too; it’s like, ‘am I going to slow? What am I doing wrong?’”
On the girls team, sophomore Sophie Bliss was the first Panther to cross the finish line, clocking in at 20:27.30 for 17th place. Freshman Sadie Wendring came across the line in 23rd place, with a time of 21:10.40.
“I’m happy with my performance,” Wendring said. “It was nice to know the course beforehand. I knew everything that was going on. There were no surprises.”
She said she didn’t really have a plan before going into the race.
“Just give all you got, it’s gonna be over,” she said. “We paced ourselves in the beginning and pushed it for the last two miles.”
Wendring plans to run track in the spring, and compete in the 800-meters race.