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Forest Grove runners turn in some of their best times and take ninth place as a team

The Forest Grove boys cross country team finished ninth at the Class 6A state cross country meet on Saturday, scoring 221 points.

Forest Grove head coach Sue Fleskes said that the boys were disappointed with their finish as a team. But, for the most part, the boys were also quite happy with the times they put up.

“They ran all right,” Fleskes said. “They were a little more disappointed in the place of the team than they were with the individual performance.”

Senior Judd Parson finished in 37th place overall with a time of 16 minutes, 48 seconds.

“He’s just run so, so strong,” Fleskes said of Parson. “He turned out to be quite the senior leader on the team in terms of performance.

“He was determined to do well at that race and did.”

Sophomore Seth Berdahl finished in 47th place with a time of 17:05.

“Seth has always been (number) one or two all season long,” Fleskes said. “He’s just such a strong sophomore with a lot of determination and a lot of promise. He’s taken away from this meet a renewed sense of dedication to really increase his play.”

Senior Brayan Cruz finished in 70th place with a time of 17:38.

“Brayan Cruz is a hard worker with lots of potential,” Fleskes said. “I’m hoping that he can go on and run in college if we can find a program that suits him.

“He’s a smart kid and has a lot of potential. He worked really hard to get onto the varsity this year.”

Junior Aaron Orr finished in 72nd place with a time of 17:39.

“He had a (personal) best time,” Fleskes said. “He’s come from a JV runner to a very quiet, determined, dedicated varsity runner. He just kind of sneaks up on you because he doesn’t say much.

“He’s very quiet, he’s very reserved. He just takes care of business.”

Junior Michael Garcia finished in 74th place with a time of 17:43.

“Michael is such a talent,” Fleskes said. “He gets nervous at big meets, but he’s such a talent and he proved that. His passion is basketball. I know that. But, we’re hopeful that he can do some offseason training as well as basketball. He has a lot of natural talent and we’re hoping that he can move up.”

Senior Connor Pitt finished in 75th place with a time of 17:46.

“He’s our captain,” Fleskes said. “Connor has just been a real strong, real consistent runner for us all season. And Connor actually ran eight seconds faster this year than he did last year at the state meet.”

Sophomore Camden Kennedy finished in 88th place with a time of 18:05.

“Camden Kennedy really proved himself by doing well in the JV district meet and got a spot on the varsity,” Fleskes said. “We need to work a little bit with Camden on his form and his confidence. He needs more big race meets under his belt. But, he’s still really young.”

Looking at the runners that she has coming back next season with Berdahl, Orr, Garcia and Kennedy, Fleskes is excited by the possibility that Forest Grove could have a chance to take home one of the four trophies at next year’s state meet.

Says Fleskes: “All of these boys returning know that next year is our genuine shot at one of the four trophies.”

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