Lake Oswego cross-country teams register a victory and a tie against higher ranked West Linn squads
by: Dan Brood, Lake Oswego’s Tate Murray, far right, battles Tualatin’s Emily Wheeler in a close race to the finish at last week’s cross-country meet at Tualatin. The two runners were clocked with identical times of 19:00 but Wheeler was awarded the victory when she edged out Murray at the tape.

For a while, it was looking like the eighth-ranked West Linn girls cross-country team would be nearly impossible to beat at the upcoming district meet. But it's now clear that the Lake Oswego girls will have a big say in what happens at district.

In a dual meet last Wednesday, the two teams finished in a 28-28 tie. It could make the district meet interesting, to say the least.

The Laker girls managed the split with West Linn largely because of the showing of their top three runners - Tate Murray, Latane Cox and Lauren Ohlson. Murray had the best time among the two schools, with a mark of 19:00, while Cox was third (at 19:33) and Ohlson was fourth (at 19:45).

In addition, Emily Fuller and Erin Yaylali took the ninth and 11th positions, respectively, which was just enough to secure the tie with the Lions.

The Lake Oswego-West Linn race was part of a five-way meet that also included Milwaukie, Newberg and Tualatin. In the overall race, Murray wound up with second place, although her time was exactly the same as Tualatin's Emily Wheeler, who was awarded first place.

Cox took fourth overall while Ohlson was sixth.

After that showing, the Lake Oswego girls garnered four points in the latest statewide poll and are now ranked No. 11 in the state.

Last Wednesday was also a big day for the Lake Oswego boys team, which registered a somewhat surprising 27-29 over the West Linn boys, who are now ranked eighth in the state.

The Lakers, who are ranked 12th, won the head-to-head dual by earning three of the top four spots. Elijah Greer claimed first place, in both the dual meet and the five-way meet. He ran Tualatin's course in a time of 16:18.

The second spot (and third overall) went to Alex Martin with a time of 16:38; and Chris Caldwell was fourth in the dual (eighth overall) with a time of 16:45.

Rounding out the top five for the Lakers were James Ratliff, who was ninth (17th overall), and Sean Johnson, who was 11th (20th overall).

The Lakers also competed in the Nike Pre-nationals, which were held Sept. 29 at Portland Meadows and were attended by 77 teams from Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho.

Murray finished sixth in a formidable girls field. She ran the course in a time of 19:14. Cox was 25th with a time of 20:10.

In the boys race, Greer took ninth with a time of 16:30. Caldwell was 20th at 16:43 and Martin was 42nd at 17:05.

The two Lakeridge teams also are gearing up for districts after some strong performances in the last week.

The Lakeridge girls lost a tough 27-30 decision to Clackamas despite some good runs by their top competitors. Zoe Newman and Kelly Bartz tied for Lakeridge's top spot with a time of 21:59 on Clackamas' relatively slow track. Sydney Baker was next for the Pacers with a time of 22:35.

Lakeridge's Dave Marks won the boys meet, which also included runners from Forest Grove and Tigard. He turned in a winning time of 16:27.

Clackamas then had the next three runners across the line, which helped the Cavs register a 23-35 dual meet victory over the Pacers. After the three Clackamas runners was Lakeridge's Alex Anderson, who was fifth with a time of 17:09. Next in line for the Pacers was Rishi Rihki, who was 11th overall with a time of 17:28.

The Pacers also participated in the Trask Mountain Assault, which was held at the Flying M Ranch near McMinnville on Sept. 29.

It wasn't an easy run. Instructions to the competitors advised them that 'the course is tough. Maybe the toughest we have ever seen. Be ready.'

Marks won the open division on an extremely tough course. He was clocked in a time of 21:16, which was approximately five minutes slower than his time on a normal course.

In the regular varsity meet, which was staged on a slightly less difficult course, Anderson finished third in a field of 147 runners. He was clocked in a time of 20:01. Rikhi took 20th place in that race with a mark of 22:06.

In the girls race, Newman took 11th with a time of 27:02 while Bartz was 12th at 27:18. They were followed by teammates Baker (35th place), Cassie Loren (42nd) and Chloe Block (45th).

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