Woodburn's Giovanni Bravo got a sneak preview of his closest rival for a league title in the 3,000 meters on Friday, going head-to-head against Dallas' Trevor Cross at the Viking Relays at North Salem High School.
The two sophomores have a rivalry on the race track dating back to the fall cross-country season, where they were vying for the top spot in the district championships that ultimately went to Corvallis junior Ian Vickstrom.
Cross came in a close second at the district cross country meet, followed by Bravo in fourth. But at the state meet, Bravo took a measure of revenge by beating both Cross and Vickstrom at the state championship in November.
With spring season underway, the distance running rivalry is back in the forefront at Woodburn High School, with Cross and Bravo crossing paths on the track for the first time this season at North Salem.
Though the race was ultimately won by Tualatin's Adam Klein, Cross and Bravo finished closely behind in second and third, respectively. Cross finished just under the 9-minute mark with a time of 8 minutes, 58.72 second, followed by Bravo, who took third place in 9:02.33.
Both times were personal records for the two sophomores, who lead the Mid-Willamette Conference standings in the 3,000 by a wide margin. South Albany's Tyler Miller has the next-best time in the 3,000, but is 26 seconds behind Bravo's mark from North Salem. Vickstrom is next at 9:30.
While the 3,000 is Bravo's signature event, which is the closest track event in distance to the 5,000-meter races from cross country season, the Woodburn sophomore could factor into the conversation for state championship qualification in all the distance events.
Bravo is currently ninth in the 800-meter standings with a time of 2:06.04, but is separated by less than three seconds from Crescent Valley senior Isaac Wilson, who has the second-best time in the conference.
Bravo is also ranked fourth in the 1,500 standings with a time of 4:21.99, making him a threat to qualify for state in multiple events when the Bulldogs travel to Lebanon High School for the conference championships in May.
Bravo wasn't the only Woodburn athlete to excel at North Salem on Friday. Fellow cross country teammate Karson Christiansen set a new personal best in the 400 with a second-place time of 52.08, beating his previous mark from last year by more than a second.
Christiansen is another Woodburn athlete embroiled in a close race for a state berth. His PR is the fourth-best mark in the conference this season and is less than a second behind Lebanon senior Cole Sipos, who leads the league standings.
Another cross country runner, senior Brandon Hobson, entered the conference top-10 in the 300 hurdles after a PR-setting performance at the Viking Relays. Hobson finished eighth in the event with a new best of 44.57.
In the throwing events, senior Abraham Robles led the Bulldogs in the shot put with a mark of 37-6, while junior Breyanh Gutierrez set a PR in the discus with a mark of 100.
The girls team was led by freshmen Leslie Barajas and Islie Flores, each of whom scored multiple PRs on the day. Flores had a PR-mark of 12-8.75 in the long jump and finished the 300 hurdles in 59.17, beating her previous time by more than four seconds.
Barajas finished just behind in the long jump with a PR of 12-8 and beat her teammates in the 300 hurdles with a time of 57.62.
The Bulldogs travel to Silverton on Wednesday in a league duel against the hosting Foxes. Woodburn closes out the week at the Wilsonville Invitational on Saturday as one of 24 teams from Oregon and Washington that are scheduled to compete.