Lonai wins Gutbuster, avenges loss to Welch
MILTON-FREEWATER — Josie Lonai won the Gutbuster Invitational and avenged an earlier loss to La Grande’s Amanda Welch Friday.
Welch had defeated the McLoughlin runner at the Dry Side Shootout a week before on the Eastern Oregon University campus.
This time, the roles were reversed with Lonai winning in a time of 21:03.05, while Welch had to settle for third in 22:00.69 on Lonai’s home course.
With just two runners in the race, La Grande didn’t have to worry about a team score. Grace Ridder placed 22nd in 25:31.14.
However, both Lonai and Welch will face off again — on La Grande’s home course. The Tigers will be hosting the Greater Oregon League’s district championship race Oct. 26 on the Eastern Oregon University course used for the Dry Side Shootout.
In the girls race, Pendleton dominated the meet with five runners in the top eight finishers, led by sophomore Evelyn Perez (second, 21:51.69).
The Lady Buckaroos won the team title with 22 points.
Elgin had just four finishers, led by Angela Stafford (11th, 23:11.11) and Emily Schmittle (12th, 23:18.27). Autumn Wheeling came in 17th with a time of 24:24.98, while freshman Janice Gawith came in 44th with a time of 31:59.92.
“We also had solid performances on the girls’ side with Angela Stafford and Emily Schmittle running and working together throughout the race and Autumn finishing closely behind them,” said Elgin/Imbler coach Kevin Lambert.
“As a coach it was a thrill to see the team really come together on both sides and compete at a better level,” he added.