Laker, Pacer runners ready for districts
It's become almost routine over the past few years that the Three Rivers League district cross country meet is fraught with fast times and razor thin margins of victory.
And there is no reason to expect anything less at this year's meet which will take place at Clackamas Community College next Wednesday.
While West Linn appears to be the favorite in both the boys and girls races, there could be an exciting showdown for the second slot at state between Lakeridge and Lake Oswego, particularly on the boys side.
"I expect our boys to push West Linn and go after them," Laker coach Eric Lider said.
"I think we're set up to do some good things. It's going to be close," Pacer coach Ken James said.
Both teams are coming off strong showings in last weekend's Adidas Invite.
The highlight of the meet was turned in by Lake Oswego's Tate Murray. Murray ran a school record 18:26 shattering her previous PR by nearly 30 seconds.
Her effort was good enough for fourth place overall out of over 120 of the state's top runners. She didn't start the race with blazing speed but slowly made her way up in the pack and closed exceptionally well.
"She said to us that she thought this was a breakthrough race for her. In the last 800 meters she was still accelerating. I think she still had a little left," Lider said.
The other Laker girls ran exceedingly well in the Elite Division.
Emily Hoard set a PR in a time of 21:05 while Jocelyn Aguilar was just 11 seconds behind her.
Aguilar, a freshman, beat her best time of the year by over a minute and a half while Hoard lopped nearly a minute off of her career best.
Kelsey Mead, the team's fourth runner, also set a new PR during the race which bodes well as the team preps for districts.
For the boys, the Lakers were without their top two runners Elijah Greer and John Paden as they were both recovering from illnesses. Both are expected to be at full strength next week.
Meanwhile, Paul Hoard broke 17 minutes for the first time and Isaac Hayden just missed, finishing in 17:06 as the team ran well without its two pace-setters.
"Both those guys have been very consistent," Lider said.
Reed Oliver also set a new PR, finishing under 18 minutes for the first time in his career.
"For us, the experience of this race was the most important thing and we're feeling really good about where we're at," Lider said.
The Lakeridge teams ran in the Invitational Race and also came through with some outstanding performances.
The Pacers' Alex Anderson won the race which consisted of over 175 competitors. He narrowly edged out a runner from Washington by five seconds and came a few ticks away from setting a PR.
Also for the boys, Seth Troisi set a new PR by over 30 seconds and Kevin Pearson was just five seconds behind and also set a new PR.
Kyle Rathmanner took the most time off of his best race, PRing by over a minute to be the team's fourth runner.
"That was a huge race for Kyle. If we can get him to do that at districts it's going to be a huge help," James said.
For the Pacer girls, Kelly Bartz was, once again, the team's top finisher taking 20th and running her best time of the year by five seconds.
"Kelly's definitely our leader and the challenge now is trying to get the other girls to run closer to her," James said.
Zoe Newman finished second for the Pacers and Abby Poindexter came in third, smashing her PR by a minute in the process.
The varsity races at Wednesday's district meet will begin at 3 p.m.
The course at Clackamas Community is expected to be even faster than the Adidas Invite which means that more records could fall.
While a number of individuals from Lake Oswego and Lakeridge will likely earn a trip to Eugene the teams will also battle each other, along with West Linn and Clackamas.