After finishing fourth in the Class 6A cross country state championship race in 2021, Jesuit’s Jacob Nenow returned to Lane Community College on Saturday to take home the gold medal on Saturday afternoon.
The Jesuit senior finished the race in 15 minutes, 6.3 seconds — nine seconds ahead of second-place Samy Anderson of Lincoln.
Jesuit’s Gus Clevenger was third with a time of 15:20.3. West Salem’s Jack Meier was fourth (15:20.7), Jesuit’s Joshua Augustine was fifth (15:27.5) and Roosevelt’s William Heslam was sixth (15:30.4).
Nenow was precise with his pace on Saturday. After the first mile, he was running with the pack and holding in fifth place. But between the first and second mile, Nenow made his move.
There’s a hill between the end of the second mile and Nenow’s goal was to use that final climb as the point where he made his move.
“The rough plan was coming off that down and up when you get to the top of that hill, just to start going. That’s what my coach suggested. That’s what I tried to do today,” he said.
Nenow is one of two runners this year who are returning from the top-five of last year’s championship race which had eight seniors in the top-10. Having that experience of finishing near the top made Nenow extra hungry to return for state gold.
“It was great last year just to realize that I was up there and near the front,” Nenow said. “This year, I’ve just been gearing towards this day.”
Central Catholic’s Wesley Shipsey is the other runner from last season to return. He finished 35th on Saturday.
The Crusaders ran away with the team title, with 33 team points and four finishers in the top 10. Caden Swanson was eighth with 15:31.0. Matthew Wroblewski was 19th (15:59.7), Coen Strub was 44th (16:21.8) and Ethan Strong was 67th (16:42.5).
Nenow said the state championship feels good, but he’s also excited about how the team looks heading into the Nike Cross Regionals, which will be Nov. 12 in Boise, Idaho.
“I’m super happy,” Nenow said of his teammates. “Like Caden and Gus and Josh ran amazing also. It’s great to see where our teams are heading into the end of the season.”
— Nik Streng, firstname.lastname@example.org, @NikStreng