The Lane Community College men’s cross country team returns after a successful 2013 season, which culminated with the Titan men taking second place at the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) Cross Country Championships in Battle Ground, Wash.
The Titans have a plethora of quality runners this season, led by returning All-American Jonathan Cornish, who finished third at last year’s championship. Twin brother David Cornish will add veteran experience, and standout freshman Ben Harter leads a pack of talented freshman. The Titans have the depth and look poised to use their last three regular season events as a stepping stone towards championship aspirations.
The 2014 season began at the 5,900-meter Ash Creek Invitational in Monmouth where the Titans finished fourth overall. Jonathan Cornish finished in 12th place despite an achilles tendon injury.
“I did pretty well actually, it was good to come back … I’m just trying to work my way back and bounce back for the team,” Cornish said.
Harter finished in 20th place at Ash Creek and David Cornish finished just behind in 21st place. Jonathan Cornish spent much of the offseason training with Harter, who spent his prep career running at nearby Sheldon High School.
“I’ve always considered myself a leader, I like to take charge,” Cornish said.
“Harter’s doing an awesome job. We always feed off each other at practice, He’s big for the team.”
In the Titans second race of the 2014 season Lane Community College played host to the Northwest Cross Country Classic. In the individual event Cornish, Harter, freshman Gabe Collins, and sophomore Efrain Jamie-Ramos took top ten honors in the 44 man field.
Up next on the schedule for the Titans was a day of travel up I-5 for the NWAC preview meet which took place at Battle Ground, Wash. Battle Ground was a good opportunity for Blackmore to push his team and assess their performance.
Harter led the Titans finishing in third place despite falling and injuring his right wrist on a slippery bridge with only a mile remaining in the race.
“When I first got hurt there was definitely a bit of adrenaline going through me. After that I started picking people off and caught up to the leaders with about 800 meters to go,” Harter said.
Harter finished just two seconds behind Spokane Community College freshman Daniel Schofield, last years NWAC champion.
“It was a really good race for me, considering I lost 30 meters when I fell. It was a great meet for my confidence on a fast course,” Harter said.
David Cornish and Jonathan Cornish finished 16th and 17th respectively while Ramos, freshman Carlos Camacho, Collins, and freshman Daniel Padilla each contributed valuable points in a Titan second place team finish.
The Titans next meet is at the George Fox Invitational, a traditionally fast course in Brooks, Ore.
“Coach Blackmore always keeps us focusing on the next meet. We’re not looking down the road, we’re focused on the George Fox Invitational,” Jonathan Cornish said.