Tigard boys make every point count

Cross country: The Tigers score a 27-28 win over Forest Grove in a league showdown
by: DAN BROOD FOLLOW THE LEADER — Tigard High School junior John Walker leads the way for a pack of Tigers in the early part of last week’s Pacific Conference dual meet.

TIGARD - When you have your sights set on a dual meet championship, you know everything matters.

Every second.

Every placing.

Every single point.

That fact certainly wasn't lost on the Tigard High School boys cross country team.

And, with that in mind, the Tigers took control in the race for the Pacific Conference dual meet title - by the slimmest of margins.

In a match-up of prime title contenders, the Tigers edged Forest Grove 27-28 in a league dual meet held Sept. 28 at Tigard High School.

'This is awesome,' said Tigard senior Scott Rice, who finished in second place, individually, in the 5,000-meter varsity boys race in a time of 17 minutes, 25.23 seconds. 'We've been focusing on them for awhile.'

With the victory, Tigard improved to 3-0 in Pacific Conference dual meets. Forest Grove moved to 2-1 with the narrow setback.

'They were the one team we were really worried about,' Tigard junior Matt Carlson said.

With good reason, as right from the start, it was apparent that it was going to be a close race between the two league-title contenders.

But, at the end, with every point mattering, it came down to the finish. And that's where the Tigers seemed to step it up.

'It came down to training,' Tigard junior John Walker said. 'We all had strong kicks. We've been doing a lot of speed work.'

Carlson finished in third place in the race with a time of 17:30.63. He pulled away from Forest Grove senior James McCahon at the end in a battle for the No. 3 spot.

'He ran an awesome race,' Rice said of Carlson. 'He kept a guy from passing him at the end.'

Walker finished fifth in a time of 17:33.98.

Sophomore Nathanael Ditton also ran a key race for the Tigard boys. He finished strong and placed seventh in a time of 17:59.61.

Also for the Tigers, senior Ian Rogers was 10th at 18:05.87, freshman John Caufield was 12th at 18:12.14 and senior MacKenzie Smith was 18:13.59.

Forest Grove senior Tyler Shipley was the individual winner of the varsity boys race in 16:59.74. But that wasn't enough to offset Tigard's strong pack - which enjoyed the one-point victory.

'I'm very relieved,' Rice said with a smile.

On the girls side, Forest Grove scored a 20-37 win over the Tigers. With the victory, the Vikings moved to 3-0 in league while Tigard moved to 1-2.

Still, the Tigard girls have high hopes for the rest of the season.

'We're young and growing,' Tigard senior Emily Walch said. 'Everyone is doing well. We want to get first or second at district and go to state as a team. If we all work hard, I think we can do it.'

Walch, using a strong finish, placed third in last week's varsity girls race in a time of 21:23.18.

'It went pretty well,' she said. 'I figured I'd kick with about 400 to 600 meters to go. And I pushed it going up the hill.'

Also for the Tigard girls, junior Katherine Harbolt was sith at 22:06.93, freshman Kela Apau was seventh at 22:18.52, freshman Hannaly Duff-McGaughey was ninth at 23:03.66, senior Teddy Faller was 12th at 23:36.21, junior Marilyn Wallenburn was 14th at 23:40.41 and senior Kayla Stalheim was 19th at 24:56.55.

Forest Grove junior Elena Torry-Schrag won the race with a mark of 20:39.12.

The Tigard teams will be back in action Wednesday when they run against Century and Glencoe in a meet to be held at Century High School.