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Pacer, Laker cross country runners qualify for state

The Lakeridge boys win the meet while a pair of Laker girls earn individual spots

VERN UYETAKE - Alex Harbert had a strong kick and finished in fourth place to help the Lakeridge boys win last weeks district cross country meet.It was a solid day for the Lakeridge and Lake Oswego cross country teams as they competed in the district meet at Clackamas Community College last Wednesday.

The Lakeridge boys fended off West Linn by the slimmest of margins, winning the meet by a single placement while the Lake Oswego girls qualified a pair of runners to state individually.

The boys race turned out to be a wild one. It got off to a blistering pace despite wet and slippery conditions and, for more than a mile, there was very little separation in a huge pack near the front.

As individuals began to shake out from the pack, state berths were on the line. Lake ridge’s Alex Harbert used a strong kick to fly down the final 200 meters, finishing in fourth place individually in 16:36.03.

“Going out that quick kind of gassed me because I’m not used to it so I had a bit of a side ache but I remembered to breathe deep and relax,” Harbert said.

The next handful of placements would be crucial in what was widely expected to be a very close team race.

Matt Lautze was next for the Pacers, taking 11th in 16:55.05. Freshman Mathew Ragsdale finished in 19th in a time of 17:18.4. He was followed very closely by fellow freshman Paul Corso, who took 21st in 17:20.36 while Aidan Strealy was 25th in 17:27.61.

That would leave the Pacers in a tie with West Linn, each with 80 points, meaning the meet would be decided by each team’s No.6 runner. For Lakeridge, that was Aymeric Feyfant, who took 31st, just two seconds ahead of West Linn’s No. 6 runner.

Both teams would qualify for state while the battle for third was also decided by a sixth-runner tiebreaker.

For Lake Oswego, freshman Marcus David was his team’s top finisher, taking 16th in 17:12.03.

Matthew Zimmerman was a few strides behind in 24th with a time of 17:23.13 while Colin Hennessey took 30th.

In the girls’ race, St. Mary’s and Tualatin claimed the top five individual spots as expected, setting up a battle for third place as a team.

West Linn would claim that spot while the Lakers took fifth, just one point behind Newberg.

Individually, Lake Oswego’s stalwarts, Dulcie Jones and Grace David, were solid again. The pair paced each other and Jones pulled ahead down the back stretch, taking seventh in a time of 19:22 to clinch another trip to state.

“I was just happy to finish in the top-10 and get back to state. It was a tough race but Grace and I always help each other out,” Jones said.

David was right behind her in eighth in a time of 19:29.31, also earning a trip to Eugene.

Emily Van Orman was next for Lake Oswego, taking 23rd in 20:27.84 while Katy Howells took 34th and Heidi Dufek was 36th.

Lakeridge’s top finisher was Eva Svoboda, who took 27th in 20:33.75. Maj Wehrmeister was right behind with a terrific race, taking 28th in 20:36.94.

Lilly Bar finished in 35th, followed by Abbi Outcalt in 37th and Cleo Cowie in 39th.

The teams will now gear up for the state meet this Saturday at Lane Community College.