The Beaverton senior and the Crusader boys both star at state

EUGENE — If the dominoes fell right, the Metro League could have swept the individual and team titles Saturday at the Class 6A Boys Cross Country State Championships.

Beaverton senior Dan Oekerman entered Saturday’s meet at Lane Community College with aspirations of winning an individual state title, while the Jesuit boys’ team had its sights set on a team championship.

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - HERE THEY COME - Jesuit's pack (in green) leads the field at the start of the Class 6A boys state cross country meet at Lane Community College in Eugene. The Crusaders placed second in the meet.

Both Oekerman and the Crusaders ended up settling for second-place finishes. Oekerman finished eight seconds behind Sheldon’s Jackson Darland, while Jesuit fell 24 points short of champion Central Catholic.

Oekerman, who finished eighth at state as a sophomore and third last year, expressed disappointment afterward.

“I think I ran the best race I could have ran today, I just didn’t have that last little bit in me,” Oekerman said. “That was my only goal this season, to win state, and I just came a couple of seconds short of that.”

Darland, the second Sheldon runner to take home the individual title in three years, surged past Oekerman and third-place finisher Kyle Thompson of Central Catholic over the final 1,000 meters of the 5,000-meter race.

“Jackson made a move and I couldn’t respond,” Oekerman said. “Coming down this last long straightaway is when he put a gap on me and I tried to close it and I just couldn’t.”

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - MAKING TRACKS - Beaverton senior Dan Oekerman races to a second-place finish at the Class 6A state cross country meet on Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene.

Oekerman ends his high school career with three top-10 finishes at state and one Metro League district title, which he won two weeks ago.

The Jesuit boys’ team had four runners finish between 14th and 20th place, and all seven of its runners finished in the top 39.

“We’re a little disappointed, but we’re happy with what we got,” said senior Josh Sealand, who finished second for the Crusaders and 16th overall with a time of 16:27. “It’s the best place we’ve had since 2008, so I’m pretty happy about this.”

Senior Alex Joseph paced the Crusaders with a 12th-place finish at 16:24. Junior Sam Remington clocked in at 16:30, good for 18th, while senior Matt Piercy turned in a 20th-place time of 16:32. Senior Brian McDavitt (32nd at 16:43), senior Hunter McGuirk (33rd at 16:45) and junior Michael Godbout (39th at 16:51) rounded out the Crusaders’ lineup.

“Personally I thought we could have gone out a little faster,” Sealand said. “We went out in five minutes the first mile, and maybe if we would have taken the pace out faster I guess the second two miles wouldn’t have been so fast, but what’s done is done.”

Westview senior Ryutaro Morgan joined Oekerman on the top-10 individual podium, finishing eighth overall with a time of 16:18.

“My goal was to get into the top 10, I really wanted to medal, so I put everything out there the last mile,” Morgan said.

Morgan was outside the top 10 heading into the home stretch, but a strong kick got him onto the podium.

“With 300 (meters) to go, it was all mental,” Morgan said. “I was kind of having an internal battle inside my mind. It was really hard, but that two minutes of hard work equals all the glory in a lifetime, and that’s kind of what I thought about during the final 300 meters.”

Aloha junior Devin Sellers also ran at the meet, finishing 54th at 17:15.

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