EUGENE — Jakob Hiett has been at it for a while.
The Sweet Home High senior has piled up loads of cross-country and track and field wins over his four-year varsity career.
All that was missing from his resume was a state championship.
In Saturday’s OSAA 4A boys state cross-country championships, Hiett finally captured his elusive state title, finishing first on the 5,000-meter course at Lane Community College with a time of 16 minutes, 4 seconds. Valley Catholic’s Wilder Boyden was a distant second, finishing in 16:14.
“I’ve been so close to winning a state title numerous times, so to finally be No. 1 is just like … I’ve been waiting for this for four years,” said Hiett, who flashed a huge grin as he crossed the finish line.
Hiett finished third at last year’s state championships (16:10), took eighth as a sophomore (16:40) and was 28th as a freshman (17:22).
During the summer, Hiett suffered a stress fracture in his ankle that slowed him down early in the season.
But Hiett’s goals never changed.
“I knew it would be hard, but I still thought I could (win state),” he said. “I had worked so hard, putting in the miles every year, that there was no way I was going to give up. I knew it would be feasible. People have done it before.”
Led by senior Mitchell Thomas, Philomath captured its first trophy since 2011 with a fourth-place finish in the team race.
The Warriors’ score of 129 was one point better than fifth-place La Grande (130). Valley Catholic won with a score of 58. Phoenix took second at 95 and Marshfield was third at 114.
“We weren’t even sure what kind of team we would have at the beginning of the year,” Philomath coach Joe Fulton said. “We were piecing it together, trying to get guys to come out, and we had no idea who would even make our top five. So for them to come out and get a trophy at state, it’s amazing.”
Thomas finished in eighth place with a season-best time of 16:32. He was 30th last year (17:18), 66th as a sophomore (18:33) and 103rd as a freshman (20:09).
Entering the season, Thomas said his goal was to crack the top 10 at state.
“I’m a senior, it’s my last race. So I came and just gave it my all. And it paid off,” he said.
Junior teammate Tim McIlroy finished 24th with a time of 17:15. Senior Andrew Damitio took 32nd at 17:20.
“We’ve been working for this trophy for a long time, and it feels so good to finally come out here and leave with one in our hands,” Thomas said.
4A boys results
Team scores: Valley Catholic 58, Phoenix 95, Marshfield 114, Philomath 129, La Grande 130, Siuslaw 144, Tillamook 155, Sisters 185, Ontario 229, Elmira 270, Hidden Valley 272, Crook County 283, Molalla 324,
Sweet Home finisher: 1. Jakob Hiett 16:04
Philomath finishers: 8. Mitchell Thomas 16:32; 24. Tim McIlroy 17:15; 31. Andrew Damitio 17:20; 38. Clay Youker 17:33; 55. Kurt Foster 18:04; 66. Clark Hellesto 18:34; 79. Marcus Weaver 18:58