West Linn boys cross country splits league meet
The West Linn boys cross country team knew it wasn't at its best last week.
Despite that, the Lions were still very nearly the best again.
West Linn, facing Lake Oswego and Sherwood in Three Rivers League action at Lake Oswego Junior High on Sept. 27, rolled past the Lakers 26-33 and pushed the talented Bowmen to the limit before falling 26-30. Sherwood beat Lake Oswego 23-35 in the day's other dual meet. Those results took the Lions' TRL league record to 3-2, while Lakers saw their league mark fall to 2-3.
The highlight of the day for the Lions — who ran without junior team leader John Wetzsteon (he injured an ankle in the week leading up to the Lake Oswego meet) — was the performance of senior Avery Cook.
Cook left the rest of the field behind early on and sped home to victory with a winning time of 17:39.0 (Lake Oswego's Marcus David was well back in second place at 17:48.86).
"I know the Sherwood guys haven't been running very many hilly courses so I figured I'd just take it to them," Cook said. "I started out kind of quick and they just dropped off and I kept going on."
Cook's race plan proved to be the perfect recipe on the Lakers' unique home course which requires runners to go up and down lengthy sets of steps multiple times.
"Coming around on that first small loop, going up the stairs, I just took off and separated from them," he said. "I wanted to gap them and just keep going off."
After Cook, additional West Linn finishers included: sophomore Dash Lipsey, seventh overall at 18:10.37; sophomore Sam Bennett, 10th at 18:23.00; junior Kenney McElroy, 11th at 18:24.76; and junior Tate Kadel, 12th at 18:34.04.
For David, the option of running with the lead group — which included Cook and Sherwood's Henry Giles and Josh Quaglio — wasn't really an option during a week in which he was battling a cold.
"I'm a little sick, but I powered through it," he said. "They went out hard so I just tried to stay relaxed for the first two miles and make up ground in the last one. Right after you get up the stairs, people kind of break so I speed up after that and you can usually catch them. I'm pretty happy with it."
The rest of the Lakers' varsity scorers included: Colin Hennessey, sixth at 18:08.65; Luke Wiens, ninth at 18:21.36; Eric Sasadeusz, 17th at 19:10.21; and Matthew Zimmerman, 19th at 19:11.21.
For Sherwood, Jaron Homer placed third overall at 17:49.50, followed by Quaglio (fourth at 18:06.63), Giles (fifth at 18:07.90), Thomas Osborne (eighth at 18:12.55) and Trevor Widell (14th at 18:54.04).
In upcoming meets, the Lions run in the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Washington, on Saturday, then return to TRL competition when they compete with Newberg at Canby on Oct. 11, with the varsity girls meet set for 5:30 p.m. and the varsity boys race to follow at 5:30 p.m.