The Bowmen cross country teams turn in strong races at the Jim Danner Invite
by: DAN BROOD, RUNNING STRONG — Sherwood junior Joel Hale (right) makes up ground in Saturday’s race.

GRESHAM - Working hard and training with a goal in sight.

That's a plan that very well may pay off.

It sure seemed to for the Sherwood High School cross country teams.

The Bowmen squads, as they hoped and trained for, turned in strong performances at the Jim Danner Invitational, held Saturday at Blue Lake State Park.

'We trained pretty hard for this race,' Sherwood junior Joel Hale said. 'It was a good race for us. There was a lot of good competition to run against.'

The Sherwood boys finished in fourth place in the team standings in the Division 2 race at Saturday's invitational.

The Sherwood girls placed 11th in the team standings in the Division 1 race. The Lady Bowmen also got a winning performance from senior Ilsa Paulson, who was first across the finish line in the Division 1 girls event.

'It was a real good day,' Sherwood coach Wendell Otto said. 'The kids have all worked real hard up to this point.'

That seemed to show on Saturday.

For the Sherwood boys, each of the varsity runners set a new personal best time.

That was true for Hale. He finished in 11th place individually with a mark of 16 minutes, 53.98 seconds for the 5,000-meter event. That time bested his previous personal record by at least 20 seconds.

'I'm real happy with that,' Hale said.

Sherwood junior Brantley Miller-Stecher, a first-year cross country runner, finished 31st in a time of 17:16.7, bettering his previous personal best by 25 seconds.

'I'm glad it's over,' Miller-Stecher, a lacrosse standout at Sherwood, said with a smile. 'I'm pretty happy. We trained a lot for this one.'

Also for the Sherwood boys, sophomore Luke Widows finished 47th in 17:36.5, Dan Cushing was 49th at 17:37.6, senior Robert Thompson was 66th at 18:04.6, senior Peter Reid was 69th at 18:06.1 and junior Greg Lemay was 119th at 19:08.7.

The Bowmen placed fourth out of the 22 teams competing in Division 2 with 201 points.

'The boys did real well,' Otto said. 'They've been overlooked a bit, but this is the best squad we've had in years.'

Meanwhile, the Sherwood boys are hoping for big things the rest of this season.

'We want to go to state real bad,' Hale said.

Last year, as a sophomore, Hale just missed going to state as an individual.

'That's big-time motivation for this year,' he said.

Leo Castillo of Hood River was the individual winner of the Division 2 boys race in a time of 16:19.

Paulson triumphed in the Division 1 girls race with a mark of 18:33.9.

'She's still about six or seven weeks out from being where she wants to be,' Otto said of Paulson, who got a late start to the cross country season. 'She ran well. She went out quick. This was her first chance to go for it.'

Paulson won the race easily, finishing nearly 21 seconds ahead of second-place Laura Sauvage of Seattle Prep.

Also for the Sherwood girls, sophomore Kristin Oenning finished 43rd in a time of 20:40.1, sophomore Marissa Ranno was 44th at 20:40.9, senior Alyssa Dinsmore was 99th at 22:40.9, sophomore Cortney Jones was 103rd at 22:52.1 and freshman Kaylynn Oaks was 106th at 23:01.6.

The Lady Bowmen finished 11th in the team standings with 266 points. Columbia River, from Vancouver, Wash., won the Division 1 girls team title with 109 points.

The Sherwood squads were scheduled to run in a Northwest Oregon Conference dual meet at Parkrose on Wednesday. Results from that meet weren't available when the Times went to press.

The Bowmen teams, on Saturday, will run at the Adidas Classic, which will be held at Concordia University.

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