The teams have been known to contend for a top three finish at the NWAC Championships and has the number three best co-ed conference finishes over the last decade. The men’s team was third the last three years at the NWAC Championships and won the Southern Region Championships in 2013 with a convincing 26 to 53 point victory. The Cougars are often one of the top teams in the Southern Region, and in 2011 they were the co-ed champions. Clackamas is the home of Lisa Ondieki who was the 1998 silver medalist in the marathon and is said to be the best female distance runner in Australia’s history. She is the former World Record Holder in the women’s marathon when she ran 2:24:40. Brian Abshire went on to be the US National Champion in the steeple chase where he went on to compete in the 1988 Olympics. Paul Kezes ran 14:12 while training at Clackamas and went on to compete on the US National Cross Country team and ran a personal best of 13:50.
Our alumni have been successful at the university level after leaving Clackamas. Kennedy Rufener placed fourth at the NCAA Division II National Championships in the 10,000 meters running 35:05 and has a personal best time of 16:49 in the 5,000 meters. These are astronomical accomplishments for Kennedy considering she ran 22:22 for 5,000 meters in high school cross country. Andria Scheese went on to be a 5-time NAIA All-American and has a personal bests of 16:58 and 4:28. Jessica Harper and Lyndsey McKillip went 6th and 7th at the NCAA Division II National Championships in the steeple. John Butkey and Patrick Searing were on the NCAA Division II National Championship cross country team in 2005. Chris Olsen earned All-American status in the indoor 800 at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships. Badane Sultessa ran 1:47 in the 2015 track and field season, which was the 37th fastest time in the country for all levels. Jose Macias ran 14:44 for 5,000 meters in 2016 to show our continued success in the distances.
Clackamas works hard to achieve success in the classroom as well as the athletic field. There is academic tracking and communication with instructors to help ensure solid performance in classes. It is the belief that athletes perform better knowing their athletic future at Clackamas depends upon doing well in the classroom in order to stay eligible as well as having an attractive transcript for four-year institutions to look at.
It is the philosophy that distance running is a team sport much like the great Arkansas coach John McDonnell believed. It is the responsibility of each member to help others get better not just themselves. Strength in numbers is key with all members working together toward a common goal.
If you’re interested in joining the distance athletics program, contact Keoni McHone at 503-594-3273.