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Elijah Greer beats rival runner, has eye set on district meet

by: Vern Uyetake, Lake Oswego’s Elijah Greer, foreground, proved tough to beat during last Wednesday’s cross-country race against Lakeridge. Greer won the race in a time of 17:20 while Lakeridge’s Dave Marks claimed second place with a time of 17:22.

This time it was Elijah Greer's turn.

Earlier in the season, Lakeridge Dave Marks looked like the runner to beat in the Three Rivers League. But when they were pitted against each other in last Wednesday's cross-country race, it was Lake Oswego's Greer who came out on top.

In previous races, Marks relied on a strong kick to knock off his opponents down the stretch. But Greer ran so well that he held off Marks' closing sprint.

Greer was clocked in a time of 17:20 on Lake Oswego's soggy home course. Marks ran the five-kilometer race in a time of 17:22.

'I wasn't sure how strong I would be coming into the race,' Greer said. 'I just wanted to stay within reach … then, at the 3K point, I felt good and just kind of took off.'

Typically, Marks likes to have other runners set the pace, and Greer was happy to oblige, at least for a while.

'At one point, I slowed down and let Marks get ahead of me because I wasn't sure how strong I'd be at the end,' said Greer, who kind of improvised his race strategy as he went along.

'It's what I felt I should do. So I did it and it worked out,' the Lake Oswego star added.

Greer started the cross-country season with moderate success, but there was always the feeling in those early races that he was just getting warmed up. Now, Greer seems to be on the verge of peaking just in time for the upcoming district meet.

'That's always the plan,' Greer said. 'It's more fun to get PR's at the end of the season.'

But Greer also seemed to be motivated by the early-season press Marks had received after two impressive victories over Oregon City's Jacob Goertz.

'I had heard all of the stories about Goertz and the other guys,' Greer said. 'So I was trying not to give him any breathing room at the end. It was just go, go, go.'

After Greer and Marks, it seemed that Lake Oswego and Lakeridge took turns sending runners across the finish line. Lake Oswego's Chris Caldwell was the No. 3 finisher while Lakeridge's Alex Anderson claimed fourth place and the Lakers' Alex Martin was fifth.

The alternating theme continued with Lakeridge's Rishi Rihki placing sixth and Lake Oswego's Issac Hayden finishing seventh. Next in line was Cole Flora of Lakeridge (in eighth) but teammate Seth Troisi broke the trend by claiming the No. 9 spot. Lake Oswego's Paul Hoard then finished 10th and that was good enough to give the Lakers a 26-29 dual-meet victory.

The Laker boys won the race without the services of James Ratliff and Sean Johnson, who have been the team's fourth and fifth-best runners for most of the season. But the Lakers have so much depth, they hardly missed a beat against the Pacers.

Lake Oswego also won last Wednesday's girls race against Lakeridge, and the Lakers did it without four of their best runners. Missing were Tate Murray, Latane Cox and Shelley Chestler, but the Lakers still managed to squeak out a 28-29 victory.

'It was injuries, sickness and those kinds of things,' Lider said of his short-handed team. 'I would have liked to have had them (race), but they just weren't ready.'

Well, Lake Oswego's Lauren Ohlson was certainly ready to run. She won the race with a time of 21:20.

Ohlson was followed by Lakeridge's top two runners. Kelly Bartz was second with a time of 22:15 while Zoe Newman claimed the third spot with a mark of 22:24.

The Lakers then captured the next three spots with Emily Fuller finishing fourth, Erin Yaylali taking fifth and Ali Steinbacher claiming sixth. They were followed by Sydney Baker and Chloe Block of Lakeridge and Emily Hoard of Lake Oswego.