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LO runners register week to remember

Anyone who follows the exploits of the Lake Oswego cross-country team probably did a double take when they saw the results from the team's two meets last week.

First, the Lake Oswego boys team knocked off seventh-ranked Clackamas on Wednesday. That by itself would have been a big enough achievement for one week. But the Lakers followed up on Saturday by winning the open division of the Northwest Classic at Lane Community College.

Longtime coach Eric Lider believes it is the first time that one of his teams ever won a big invitational meet.

'Traditionally, we've done really well at districts. That's where our focus is. So (winning the Classic) is a little out of character,' Lider said.

Lider wasn't sure what to expect from his team when he entered the Lakers in the Classic earlier in the year. Because of that uncertainty, Lider entered his team in the open division, which is one level below the invitational division. As it turned out, Lake Oswego probably should have run in the higher division.

The Lakers probably would not have won the bigger race, which included some of the top teams in the state, but Lider's crew would have been close to the top. It shows just how well the Laker boys are running right now.

In winning the open division, the Lakers had three runners finish among the top 18 in a field of 181 runners. Riley Werner led the way with a time of 17:10, which was good enough for eighth place.

He was followed by Elijah Greer, who took 15th place with a time of 17:25 and Chris Caldwell was 18th with a time of 17:33.

Rounding out the Lake Oswego contingent were Alex Martin (in 31st place) Issac Hayden (36th), Alex Robinson (43rd) and David Byerly (87th).

With their collective efforts, the Lakers moved into to a tie for No. 10 in the statewide poll. Of course, that showing was partly due to the Lakers' 26-30 win over Clackamas, which somehow moved up to No. 5 in the poll.

In the overall scheme of things, the win over Clackamas might have been more important than winning the Classic. Not only did Wednesday's meet count in the league standings, but the Lakers have had their share of trouble with Clackamas in recent years. And virtually no one expected the Lakers to win this year.

'It was more than we expected,' Lider admitted. '(But) it was also an indication of how good our boys are.'

Lider used the same cast of characters against Clackamas that he used in the Classic. And they finished in almost the same order in both meets. But they ran even faster against Clackamas.

In fact, Lider said his team put together the fastest combined time ever run on Lake Oswego's home course. Four of last Wednesday's marks now rank among the top 20 times ever run on that course. That would include the times turned in by Werner, Greer, Martin and Caldwell; and Hayden, the team's No. 5 runner, now has the 26th fastest time on that list.

Werner helped set the tone with a time of 16:57, which broke the course record that Lake Oswego's Ben Frisbee set last year. By the end of this season, Lider predicts that Werner will be running in the low 16-minute range. And his teammates probably won't be too far behind.

'I don't know if Riley is going to let them beat him, but the others are pushing him,' Lider said.

The Lake Oswego girls team also was in action last Wednesday and Saturday, but the Lady Lakers didn't have quite the same success that the boys team enjoyed.

Beating Clackamas would have been a tall task since the Cavs are ranked among the top teams in the state. Still, the Lakers had some good showings from several runners.

They were led by Shelley Chestler, who ran the LO course in a time of 21:36. Not far behind were teammates Lauren Ohlson, Emily Fuller and Kathleen Preston, who were packed in together at the finish.

That group also ran well at the Classic last Saturday, but the Laker girls took an incomplete score because only four of the five runners who were entered managed to finish the race. With a full team, Lider believes his girls would have finished close to the top as well.

The girls team was hoping to get a much-needed boost this week when senior Viv Gaddis returns to action after recovering from a sprained ankle.