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Grady Greenwood wins 1A/2A State Cross Country Championship

By Tom Fatland Times-Journal Contributor

Grady Greenwood put the cherry on top of his high school cross country career with an exciting first place finish at the OSAA 1A/2A State Cross Country Championships Saturday, November 4 in Eugene.

The senior from Condon edged out Union High School senior Eli Williams with a time of 16:12.9 on the wet, muddy course. Williams faded in the last 300 yards to finish in 16:22.6 for second.

Greenwood garnered second place at the state championships last year finishing behind teammate Trevor Nichols. Williams led his Union team to first place in the team competition with four Union runners finishing in the top 12 and a team score of 44.

Grady Greenwood (#465) at the starting line of the 1A/2A Cross Country State Championship run in Eugene on Saturday, November 4. (photo courtesy Tom Fatland)

They announce it never rains at Autzen Stadium during a down pour at a Ducks football game and that figure of speech echoed true at Lane Community College as torrential rain made the 5000-meter course wet, slippery and, in places, treacherous for runners. Reminiscent of his run at the district meet, Greenwood rocketed to the front of the 79-runner pack with Williams staying close. Greenwood increased his lead to 30 yards as he dipped down the steep slope into the soccer field almost two miles into the race and Greenwood held that margin down the long, back stretch at the far end of the course until the duo circled the pond about a half-mile from the finish where Williams made his move.

Grady Greenwood (left) outpaced Eli Williams in the final 300 yards to win the state championship. (photo courtesy Tom Fatland)

Williams, hoping to negate Greenwood’s kick, passed Greenwood and built a small 10-yard lead as they exited the pond loop and entered the final 300 yards on the track. But, on the track back stretch, Williams began showing signs of fatigue, and Greenwood took advantage working his way around him on the corner and powering his way down the final straight for the win and a comfortable 10-second margin over Williams.

“I knew that it was going to be a lot like the district meet so I just had to go out front and establish myself early and that it was going to come down to that last loop around the pond and the last 300 meters on the track”, Greenwood said. “I was really surprised (on William’s surge in the last half-mile of the race) and, honestly, I was a little worried, but I could see he was starting to struggle a little bit and knew I had to make my move”, Greenwood added.

Grady’s brother, Carson Greenwood, finished in 33rd for the Condon, Heppner team in 18:38.3; Jake Wilson was 41st at 19:04.7; Walker Lathrop was 62nd at 20:34.8; Quaid Jensen was 67th at 21:20.2 and Max Wilson was 71st at 21:49.7. The Mustang team finished the team competition in 6th with a 159-point total. Union High School topped Knappa for the team title by just 3 points. Southwest Christian edged Monroe 120 to 121 for 3rd place and Stanfield/Echo just nicked the Mustangs for 5th with 158 team points.

Grady Greenwood on the podium, celebrates with other finalists in the 1A/2A Cross Country State Championship in Eugene. (photo courtesy Tom Fatland)

The other top-ten individual finishers were Wyatt Jacobson, Knappa, 3rd, 16:52.3; Joshua Peterson, Knappa, 4th, 17.00.0; Pablo Galindo, Stanfield/Echo, 5th, 17:03.9; Curtiss Heier, Illinois Valley, 6th, 17:09.8; Nathanael O’Reilly, Union, 7th, 17:20.4; Gideon Tubbs, Pine Eagle, 8th, 17:28.2; Adam Gordon, Imbler, 9th; 17:29.9 and William Mallory, Union, 10th, 17:30.3.

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