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Setting the pace at state

Beaverton's Oekerman is third, Jesuit fourth at boys state cross country
by: Jaime Valdez STRONG AT STATE — Beaverton junior Dan Oekerman races down the home stretch en route to finishing third in the Class 6A boys state cross country meet at Lane Community College in Eugene.

EUGENE - Minutes before the final team results were revealed, Jesuit senior David Leavy was asked what trophy he expected the Crusaders to receive.

Leavy guessed 'somewhere in the top two.'

So it came as a surprise - a disappointing one - when it was announced that Jesuit had finished fourth at the Class 6A boys state cross country meet Saturday at Lane Community College.

'Obviously, anytime you're in a state meet, you're trying to win it,' said junior Hunter McGuirk. 'We have a lot of young guys, only three who had run at state before, and we kind of got pushed around. Obviously we're disappointed.'

Leavy, who finished sixth in 15 minutes, 59 seconds, was the Crusader's lone top-10 finisher.

'I could have done a little better,' Leavy said. 'I was a little disappointed with my last mile. But it's not a bad way to finish off my senior year. Going sub-16 on this course isn't too bad considering the conditions.'

McGuirk (16th in 16:16) and junior Alex Joseph (30th in 16:45) were the only other Crusader runners to finish in the top 30.

Leavy was the lone senior in Jesuit's seven-man lineup, and McGuirk said the team's young runners can use the experience to better themselves in the future.

'Next year, we need to establish our position at the beginning of the race,' McGuirk said. 'And once you establish it, you have to hold on to it. We had some guys who had good position and gave it up, and then we had guys who weren't in good position and had to fight to get back in it.'

Junior Brian McDavitt (16:45) and sophomore Sam Remington (16:50) finished 32nd and 35th, respectively. Sophomore Michael Godbout (49th in 17:03) and junior Joshua Sealand (59th in 17:12) rounded out Jesuit's participants.

Beaverton junior Dan Oekerman made his presence felt at state, notching his second consecutive top-10 finish at state. Oekerman followed up last year's eighth-place finish with a third this year, coming in at 15 minutes and 52 seconds and trailing only Central Catholic's Kyle Thompson (first at 15:41) and South Eugene's Brian Eimstad (second at 15:48).

'I was hoping for a win, but third is all right,' Oekerman said. 'I'm a junior, so I have another year.'

Oekerman pointed to the start of the second mile as the turning point in the race. He said he had to throw his entire race plan 'out the window' when Central Catholic's Thompson separated himself from the pack.

'Kyle made a great move at the mile mark,' Oekerman said. 'No one was expecting that. I had to play catch-up the rest of the race. Maybe if I would have gone with him I could have gotten second, but I don't know, he ran a great race today.'

Still, Oekerman knows he's in the mix after trailing Thompson by just 11 seconds and Eimstad by just two.

'I finished 22nd as a freshman, eighth last year and third this year, so I'm steadily climbing up,' Oekerman said. 'Only two more spots to go.'

Oekerman's teammate, junior Hussein Mohamed, finished in 36th with a time of 16:52. The other Metro League individual entry was Southridge senior Ryan Jones, who placed 28th in 16:39.