Wesley Shipsey crosses the finish line to win the Boys Championship race at the Sierra Crystal Springs Invitational on Saturday in Belmont. (Daniel Hernandez photo)
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BELMONT -- Wesley Shipsey did not exactly get a nice night's sleep before the Crystal Springs Invitational on Saturday. The senior from Portland (OR) Central Catholic High had a painful ingrown toenail and it seemed like he might not be able to run in the Boys Championship race.
At 9 p.m., a podiatrist was found and the toenail was removed at the hotel.
"A lot of pain," Shipsey said. "I woke up about 3:30 in this morning just throbbing. Took a lot of Ibuprofen."
Now, most of us would be curled up in a ball begging for morphine rather than run a 2.95-mile cross country race in such a condition. But there Shipsey was at the starting line at 10 a.m.
And what a race he ran.
Shipsey ran the best time of the day, completing the course in 14 minutes, 54.6 seconds, holding off Eli Fitchen-Young of Santa Clara (CC), who placed second in 14:57.0.
After he was done, Shipsey needed assistance to get to the Central Catholic tent, where he laid down on the ground for several minutes.
"I was super happy to break 15 on a day where not everything was ideal," Shipsey said.
That's one way of putting it.
"I'm not going to lie, it was pretty painful," he said. "Sometimes adrenaline takes over a little bit. I'm fortunate that it didn't come to bite me."
Shipsey said his personal-best for 5,000 meters is 14:50 and he was happy to break 15.
"I knew it was going to be a difficult course," he said. "There were two hills I was attacking on - that first hill and that cardiac hill. I wasn't sure if there would be people to run with. Obviously there was. It was a great battle.
"Fortunately I got to 400 to go, had a little downhill and a lot of competitive spirit. I knew I couldn't let my team down. Luckily, got the win."
Shipsey was third in last year's Oregon School Activities Association 6A championships behind a pair of seniors. He is considered one of the favorites to win the race this year. He won the boys mile at the
Nike Indoor Nationals this past March before finishing third in the OSAA 6A championships in the 1,500 in 3:51.60 and eighth in the 3,000 meters in 8:20.58.
Shipsey's teammates were also pretty good as the Rams took the team title handily with 38 points.
Junior Ella McGillis gave the Rams a sweep of the individual titles, winning the Girls Championship race in 18:12.0.
"I was kind of focusing on that first mile knowing that hill was coming up, which was very scary so I tried to take it conservative," McGillis said. "Then I focused on working that second half because that's a harder part for me."
El Cerrito (NC) senior Amelia Stacey led much of the race until McGillis passed her late. Stacey finished second in 18:18.8.
"She was really hard to get so having her in front of me really pushed me a lot," McGillis said.
Central Catholic's Zoe Rector was third in 18:32.1. But the Rams girls weren't as tightly packed as the
boys and finished third with 82 points. Carlmont (CC) was the team champion with 67 points, followed by Willow Glen (CC) with 76.
Malcolm Oakes, a junior at Convent & Stuart Hall (NC), won the Varsity Boys race in 15:34.5. Milpitas (NC) took the team championship with 87 points. In the Varsity Girls race, Westmont (CC) junior Tauren Mitchell won in 19:15.1. Santa Teresa (CC) won the team scoring with 35 points.
St. Francis (CC) junior Nathan Lo won the Junior Varsity Boys Gold race in 17:15.3, helping the Lancers to the team championship with 44 points. The St. Francis girls team competed across the state at the Clovis Invitational where they placed fourth out of 18 teams that scored in the Girls Championship race.
In the Junior Varsity Boys Blue race at Crystal Springs, it was sophomore Matthew Eichenberger of Granada (NC) leading a pack of seven Matadors who finished in the top nine. Granada easily won the team championship with 16 points. Granada's highly-ranked boys varsity team also competed at Clovis and placed third out of 24 teams that scored in the Boys Championship race.
The Lancers also were well represented at Crystal Springs as sophomore Audrey Manley also won the Junior Varsity Girls race, running 21:36.9, leading the Matadors to another team crown.
Alameda (NC) sophomore Ariana McCants won the Frosh/Soph Girls race in 21:33.9. St. Francis won the team scoring with 27 points. St. Francis sophomore Kevin Beebe took the Sophomore Boys race in 12:20.7. Bellarmine (CC) won the team championship with 31 points. Heath Salter of De La Salle (NC) ran 17:45.0 to win the Freshman Boys race. St. Ignatius (NC) was the team champion with 87 points.
Damin Esper is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit.
Photos by Daniel Hernandez