Ahmed Muhumed was already going to go down as one of the top cross country runners in Oregon, but Saturday he put himself at an elite level.
The West Salem High School senior sped away from the rest of the leaders over the final 1,000 meters Saturday to win the OSAA Class 6A state cross country meet, covering the 5,000 meter course at Lane Community College in 15:21.
It rained, a lot, and the course was generally wet, but Muhumed still put down a stellar time.
“’I am not the only one that is racing in the conditions,” Muhumed said. “Coming in, I didn’t check the weather at all for this race, and I didn’t care about it that much because I wanted to just leave it all out there this being my last high school state meet.
The weather doesn’t bother me at all because everyone else is running with me, too.”
Muhumed adds his name to the elite runners who have won two consecutive state championships in the meet.
Hassan Ibrahim had nothing left, but he gave it his best anyway.
The junior from Jefferson High School led the majority of Saturday’s OSAA Class 3A/2A/1A state cross country meet at Lane Community College.
Except he didn’t lead the final inches.
As Ibrahim came onto the track, Union’s Tim Stevens inched closer and closer to Ibrahim. They finished in identical times of 16:12, but Ibrahim’s lean at the finish line wasn’t enough to overcome Stevens’ closing speed and Ibrahim placed second.
It was the second year in a row Ibrahim placed second.
“My strategy was to get the lead and then just relax at the end of the race,” Ibrahim said. “Second time coming around those hills, going my legs and then before I got to the track I felt heavy in my legs.
“I couldn’t move on. I just tried to push, push, push, but there was nothing changing on. I just got caught with 200 meters to go. Nothing I could do about it.”
Ibrahim’s brothers gave Jefferson a stellar team showing.
Freshman Ahmed Ibrahim was third in 16:23, senior Sulieman Ibrahim was 12th in 17:08 and sophomore Abdi Ibrahim was 16th in 17:21. They combined with Ezra Oien to place fourth as a team with 125 points.
Also in the meet, Kennedy placed 13th led by Noe Jines’ 35th place finish.
In the 3A/2A/1A girls meet, Kaylin Cantu continued her ascent of the state meet standings.
The junior from Kennedy placed third in the meet in 19:09, improving on her previous finishes of seventh and 10th at the state meet.
Stephanie Finley of Oregon Episcopal won in 18:30 and Bandon’s Sailor Hutton was second in 18:36. But those two took off so fast and Cantu knew she couldn’t hang with them so she raced for third the whole time.
“I really wanted to stay with Maya (Rayle) from Catlin Gabel and just see what she did,” Cantu said of the girl she beat for third. “And then I don’t want to go out too hard because I don’t really have a good finish, a good kick so I just wanted to pace myself and make sure I had a good finish.”
Kennedy sophomore Alejandra Lopez poured it on in the final mile to move up to fifth from eighth and finish in 19:31.
The Kennedy team of Cantu, Lopez, Azaris Velazquez, Natividad Ortiz and Clarissa Traeger earned a fourth place trophy with 150 points.
In the 4A boys Stayton junior Casey Pugh placed 10th in 16:53 and the Eagles team of Matthew Frazeur, Troy Saari and Brody Johnson placed fifth with 148.