Glencoe boys earn a team berth to the Class 6A cross-country meet for the first time in school history

Dennis Rice knew that his Glencoe boys cross-country team’s qualification for the state meet was big.

How big, exactly, his team’s performance was extended far beyond the context of the Pacific Conference district meet last HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Glencoe senior Abe Teklu leads a pack of runners on his way to a fifth-place finish at the Pacific Conference district cross-country meet.

That day, at Clackamas Community College, the Crimson Tide put on a superlative performance, placing three runners in the top seven finishers en route to a second-place team effort. Finishing with 60 points — just nine points back of league champion and prohibitive favorite Forest Grove — Glencoe nabbed the league’s final berth to Saturday’s Class 6A state meet at Lane Community College in Eugene.

As it turns out, this Tide boys cross-country squad is the first in the school’s 30-plus-year history to make the state meet.

“In ’94, they won a Metro League championship, but apparently it was just a dual meet championship, because they didn’t take a team to state that year,” Rice said. “First time in school history that a Glencoe team has ever qualified for state.

“I could not be more proud of the team that we put together ... I couldn’t wish it for any better group of guys either, especially those three seniors. For those three young men to be able to earn this and really lead their team to this and lead our school to this for the first time, I just couldn’t be more proud of those guys.”

The Tide’s top three were indeed impressive last week — the best trio in the meet, in fact.

So steady up front, Mason Rouches took fourth overall, covering the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 15.12 seconds, and Abe Teklu was right behind in fifth place (16:17.06). Those two trailed only Forest Grove’s Geremia Lizier-Zmudzinski (15:45.03), McMinnville’s Nic McDaniel (16:08.37) and Tualatin’s Matthew Lovos (16:13.56).

Miles Rouches, Mason’s twin brother, was solid in Glencoe’s No. 3 spot, taking seventh place in 16:48.29.

“Even if we didn’t go to state, we would have had just as much fun, which is really great,” Teklu said after the race. “And we get to go to state, and we just get to extend the fun, you know, so it’s just been amazing.”

Teklu and the Rouches twins have been performing well all season. But in cross-country, five runners score at each meet, and the Tide needed a couple more guys to step up to qualify for state.

They got them in Landon Apeland (17:21.33) and Brian Gerig (17:41.65), two juniors who finished 19th and 25th, respectively, to seal the deal for Glencoe. Aside from Forest Grove, no other school put four runners inside the top 20, and Gerig was the top No. 5 participant in the field aside from the Vikings’ fifth runner. Both boys turned in personal-best performances in the meet.

“Those are the guys that earned us a trip to state, because they went out and competed and beat a ton of guys that were ranked ahead of them,” Rice said.

For Mason Rouches, the trip to Eugene will be his second consecutive. He placed 46th individually last fall. This year, he gets to bring his mates along.

“When I saw my team coming in, I knew that we were going to make it,” Rouches said. “It was awesome seeing all of our hard work all season and all summer sort of come through.”

The 6A boys race, slated to start at 3 p.m. on Saturday, is the final one of the meet.

Taylor England (18:04.52) and Martin Sulaj (19:23.21), who were 35th and 50th at the district meet, respectively, are also scheduled to race for Glencoe.

“We know how well we competed at the Pacific Conference meet,” Rice said. “We’re going to go try to do that again this next Saturday, and see if we can’t go and surprise some people with how well we can perform there, too.”

Note: Century (133) points and Hillsboro (225) finished sixth and eighth in the team standings, respectively. Angel Salazar (11th, 16:58.33) and Drew Scott (13th, 16:59.88) both earned second team all-league honors for the Jaguars, with Salazar being the first nonqualifying individual to state. Caleb Younk (17:33.64) added a 23rd-place finish for Century. Dylan Clemo (37th, 18:11.06), Johnathon Waters (37th, 18:15.19) and Tim McSpadden (44th, 18:32.09) led the Spartans.

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