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Jordan keeps Kirtner at bay again.

Byline: Steve Mims The Register-Guard

It was Drew Jordan and Sammy Kirtner racing to the finish for the second week in a row, and once again the North Medford junior came out as the champion.

Jordan passed Kirtner with about 600 meters left and held on to win the OSAA Class 6A boys cross country title Saturday afternoon at Lane Community College.

Jordan won the Southwest Conference title and Kirtner of South Eugene was third last week, and once again those two were the leaders down the stretch before Jordan won in 15 minutes, 55 seconds while Kirtner was second in 16:03.

Kirtner took the lead just before the two-mile mark and paced the pack for more than a mile before Jordan caught up.

"I knew if I wanted to have a chance to catch him I had to use the downhill, and I really used it and got within striking distance," Jordan said. "I was right there, so I thought I might have a chance to get him again."

Jordan was the first runner to the track and extended his lead during the final 300 meters.

"I'm actually happy even though I didn't win," Kirtner said. "I went as hard as I could, but Drew was clearly the better guy. He went by me that last 600 and there was nothing I could do. I have no regrets, I went as hard as I could and that is all you can ask for."

Kirtner followed his race plan around the course.

"My strategy was just to be there at the first mile, not spend too much energy, and then try to take a lead in the second mile," Kirtner said. "I was pretty proud of myself that I was pushing it that second half of the race."

Jordan hung behind a familiar foe in Kirtner.

"Sammy took off around the ponds, and I just knew I had to stick with him," Jordan said. "I knew the Jesuit guys would be there somewhere, but I stopped hearing them and I didn't feel them behind us, so I knew it was me and Sammy. It was nice I didn't have to worry about running a defensive race, I just went for it."

Jesuit had four runners finish right behind Jordan and Kirtner to take the team title with 27 points, while Central Catholic was second at 79.

It was a sweep of the team titles for the Crusaders, who earlier won their seventh straight girls title. Jesuit now ranks second in state history for the most consecutive state championships behind the South Eugene boys, who won eight straight boys titles from 1972-79.

Jesuit looks like a good bet to challenge that mark as their seven-girl roster featured one freshman and four sophomores, including Annamarie Maag, who won the title in her first state meet.

Jesuit figured to get a tough test from St. Mary's, but it didn't materialize. The Crusaders finished with 36 points and the Blues were runners-up at 108.

"Toward the beginning of the race I saw a few St. Mary's girls ahead of us and I was kind of panicking, but (teammate Noelle VanRysselberghe) didn't seem to be bothered by it, so I just went with it," Maag said.

St. Mary's senior Alexandra Jones, who committed to Oregon a few weeks ago, led the race heading to the track for the final 300 meters before Maag moved up from third to first.

"When we were coming onto the track, I thought everyone would start passing me because my legs were tightening up," Maag said. "Once I slowly started to catch Alexandra around 200 meters, I just went for it. With about 150 to go, I felt myself going but I thought Alexandra was coming right with me. I turned around and had a lead and just kicked it in from there."

Maag was not sure she could hang, but she did in 18:23.

"Not at all, my legs were really tired," she said.

Jones, who was sick all week, finished second in 18:26.

"I knew I had to give what I had," Jones said. "I wanted it, but clearly she wanted it more or she was a little more ready."

South Eugene earned a trophy with a fourth-place finish at 139 led by Sasha Teninty, who placed 12th.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 2, 2008
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