By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary senior Kailey Doutt’s face lit up with excitement when asked about the Lady Celts cross country team, especially freshman teammate Ella Repp.
Doutt won the girls varsity race at Joe Dancer Park in McMinnville on Wednesday, Sept. 13, finishing in just over 20 minutes and 12 seconds. Not far behind her was Repp in 20:30.47, good enough for third.
“We push each other and I haven’t had that before,” Doutt said of Repp. “And we have a lot of girls that are doing amazing compared to past seasons and hopefully we’ll beat a lot of people at districts.”
Doutt ran alongside Maddie Rollins, a McMinnville senior who qualified for the state meet last season, for most of Wednesday’s race, before kicking into another gear in the last 400 meters to win by seven seconds.
“I was scared like the whole race,” Doutt said. “I had to keep feeding myself positive thoughts. I just went as hard as I could at the end. I don’t think she (Rollins) had anything left because when I passed her, she didn’t match my speed.”
Doutt, who battled injuries during cross country and track last season, added she’s feeling better and stronger than ever.
“I’m going faster in workouts that we’re doing than I ever have,” Doutt said.
Repp’s 20:30.37 was the eighth fastest girls time ran this season in the Greater Valley Conference. The top 10 finishers at the district meet on Oct. 25 qualify for state.
“She paced herself really well and we know she’s faster and she’s going to get faster,” McNary head coach David Holcomb said of Repp. “We’re excited for her.”
As a team, the Lady Celts (39) finished 15 points behind McMinnville (24), whose top five runners placed second and then fourth through seventh. McNary junior Emma Garland took eighth in 22:11.65. Senior Alison Repp and freshman Reyna Terrazas completed the scoring for the Lady Celts, finishing in 23:30.10 and 23:31.80, good enough for 14th and 15th respectively.
With 67 points, McKay’s girls placed a distant third.
“Our one (Doutt) and two (Ella Repp) are competing against McMinnville’s best,” Holcomb said. “Now it’s time to look at the 3-7 and figure out where do we want to be by the season’s end and now we have some times to shoot for and a goal in mind. Hopefully the girls respond. They admitted they wanted more. We’ve got some weeks to go and some miles to run.”
In the boys race, McNary junior David Allen showed just a glimpse of what he’s capable of.
Running in his first ever 5K, Allen finished behind five McMinnville runners, to place sixth in 18:34.09.
“It was nice to be up in the front because I’m pretty competitive,” Allen said. “I started off kind of slow but eventually I worked my way up and just kept getting faster throughout the race.”
Allen played junior varsity football at McNary last fall but gave it up to try cross country.
“I didn’t play a whole lot so I just wanted to do something where I’d stay active and I figured cross country was the best way,” Allen said. “This year is just trying to learn the sport and get used to it more and get more used to the races. I didn’t think I’d be where I am right now. I just feel lucky to be here.”
Since Allen’s favorite sport, baseball, is in the spring, Allen hadn’t even ran track before. He also barely ran this summer, recording less than 60 miles.
“He’s (Allen) a guy as a coaching staff, when we talk about him, we smile and we laugh almost because he really doesn’t know what he’s doing,” said Holcomb, who coached Allen in football.
“He has so much untapped potential he doesn’t know about and we’re hoping throughout the year the race strategy will get there, the pacing will get there. I think he’s one of those kids where he can jump into anything and figure out how to make himself competitive. Cross country being more of a stamina, discipline, driven sport, to see him be this successful without knowing what he’s doing, that’s pretty exciting.”
Jonas Honeyman (10th, 18:59.49) and Ethan Whalen (11th, 19:06.28) were the second and third McNary boys to cross the finish line as the Celtics edged McKay 59-62 for second place. Noah Egli (19:47.64, 15th) and Emanuel Figueroa (19:54.88, 17th) completed the scoring.
Holcomb noted the Celtics have around a dozen boys competing for a varsity spot.
“A lot of young kids who have never done this before and are learning how to do it,” he said. “We’re hoping by the season’s end, we’ll have seven guys that have really figured it out that can make us competitive. It’s going to be a chess match for us coaches by the season’s end.”
After not having enough girls for a junior varsity team last season, the Lady Celts won the JV race on Wednesday, edging McMinnville 29-34.
Freshman Nina Garland placed first in 24:21.32. Duyen Barr (fourth, 25:34.31) and Jaizielle Samson (fifth, 25:42.04) finished inside the top five.