Junior shatters personal record in Hillsboro

by: JEFF GOODMAN / FILE - Wilsonville junior Josh Meyer clocked a personal-best time of 16 minutes 24 seconds at his team's Sept. 25 meet at Meriwether National Golf Club in Hillsboro.Josh Meyer gave three explanations for his personal-record performance at the Wilsonville cross-country team’s Sept. 25 meet in Hillsboro, saying the course was flat, the weather conditions were favorable and the competition was strong.

But the junior neglected to mention a fourth — he’s become pretty fast on his feet.

Four days earlier, Meyer cracked the 17-minute mark for the first time in his career at the Fort Steilacoom Invitational in Lakewood, Wash.

“That was a big deal — just to be able to get that behind me,” he said. “I was pretty much trying to do that all of last season. This season, I was finally able to do it. So that felt pretty good.”

His career best of 16 minutes 59.7 seconds didn’t stand for long, however.

At the Meriwether National Golf Club, Meyer took seventh place out of 51 runners with a 16:24 — a 35-second improvement on his previous record. The time put him at No. 3 in the Northwest Oregon Conference rankings, No. 10 on the all-time school list and No. 10 in Class 5A this season.

Four of the six runners who crossed the finish line before him that day were representing Forest Grove, which competes in Class 6A.

“I had some really good runners around my speed who pushed me the whole race,” Meyer said.

 Meyer, who ran track and cross-country at Wood Middle School, has made impressive strides since his freshman year at Wilsonville.

Thanks to coaching, training and pointers from former teammates, including Akiharu Kitagawa and Ty James — two of the best cross-country runners in school history — Meyer is now the Wildcats’ regular top finisher.

This year he’s provided key experience and leadership for a program that lost almost all of last year’s state-qualifying lineup to graduation.

“I’m able to help some of the newer runners with some of things that the seniors taught me,” he said. “I’ve been able to pass on a bit of that. ... It’s enjoyable for me. I have a lot of fun with the people I get to run with.”

Meyer said he believes Wilsonville’s boys have a “pretty good chance” of returning to the state finals as a group considering they finished just four points behind Liberty at the meet in Hillsboro.

Individually, Meyer said, he’s vying for a top-three finish at the Oct. 23 district race and a mark even closer to 16 minutes.

“I’m pretty happy with the time I ran (in Hillsboro),” he said. “I’d like to see how far I can go.”

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