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Cross-country: Race for NWOC titles, state bids 'too close to feel comfortable' for Wilsonville

Wildcats to face district foes Oct. 23 at Blue Lake Regional Park


by: GREG ARTMAN / FILE - Alex Tomlinson and the Wilsonville cross-country team will compete for state berths Oct. 23 at the Northwest Oregon Conference district finals at Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview.David Barkley said he believes his boys and girls teams have shots to claim district titles and berths to the state meet.

But the Wilsonville cross-country coach also knows anything can happen in the Northwest Oregon Conference this year.

“(It’s) way too close to feel comfortable,” he said.

Barkley said four teams — the Wildcats, Sherwood, Liberty and Sandy — will likely be in the hunt for the boys championship Oct. 23 at Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview. Wilsonville, Sherwood and Sandy are all capable of taking first place on the girls side, he said.

Wilsonville’s boys are vying for another league title after winning it last year with seven of the top nine runners, including graduated district champion Ty James. The girls, meanwhile, are seeking redemption after placing third behind Sherwood and Liberty last year, missing out on a top-two finish — and a team bid to the state finals — by one point.

The varsity girls race is slated to start at 3 p.m., and the boys race will follow at 3:30 p.m. An awards ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Parking costs $5 per vehicle.

Here’s a look at some of Wilsonville’s top runners entering the district finals:

BOYS

Josh Meyer: The junior enters the district meet with the No. 3 ranking in the NWOC behind only Liberty senior Michael Francy and Sandy senior Isaac Mitchell. Meyer has consistently turned in the top time for Wilsonville’s boys this year, stepping into a leadership role following the graduation of a large and talented senior class. He is coming off a career-best performance Oct. 11 at Sandelie Golf Course, where he crossed the finish line in 16 minutes 23.7 seconds. Meyer placed ninth at the district finals last year, clocking a 17:01.0.

Alex Tomlinson: Entering in the district finals, the senior is tied with Sherwood senior Olsen Cottle for No. 7 in the NWOC rankings with a time of 17:00.6. Tomlinson has played a key role for the Wildcats varsity squad since placing second in the district meet’s junior varsity race a year ago. He has made notable improvement since clocking a time of 18:09 at the NWOC preview in September, shaving nearly 70 seconds a month later at Sandelie Golf Course.

Carlos Villagomez: The junior has been a regular scorer for Wilsonville and heads into the district meet with the ninth-best time in the league (17:02.7), which he clocked earlier this month at Sandelie Golf Course. Villagomez, who placed sixth in the district meet’s junior varsity race last season, earned a time of 18:26 on the Blue Lake Regional Park course last month to place 12th.

Sean Tan: Although he’s only completed one 5,000-meter varsity race this season, he could be an important runner for the Wildcats. After winning the 4,880-meter junior varsity race Sept. 25 at Meriwether National Golf Club in Hillsboro, Tan placed 12th out of 112 runners in a varsity 2-mile race and enters the district finals with a personal-record time of 17:11.4. He’s currently ranked 10th in the NWOC standings.

Kody Wilde: The junior transfer from Idaho could have a profound impact on Wilsonville’s team score in his first year with the program. A regular top-five finisher for the Wildcats, he clocked a season-best 17:26.4 to earn the No. 17 ranking in the district entering the NWOC finals. Wilde took 11th place at the league preview meet Sept. 11 at Blue Lake Regional Park.

Zach Uselman: Entering the district meet, the senior is ranked No. 18 in the league with a personal-best 17:32.5 — his first career sub-18-minute mark in a 5,000-meter race. Uselman was Wilsonville’s fifth finisher Sept. 7 in Tillamook, posted the squad’s fourth-best time Sept. 25 at Meriwether National Golf Club in Hillsboro and had the team’s No. 6 finish Oct. 11 at Sandelie Golf Course.

GIRLS

Taryn Rawlings: A favorite to win her third district cross-country title in four years, the senior holds the top ranking in the NWOC with the 17:59.7 that she posted Oct. 11 at Sandelie Golf Course. That time also made her the first female athlete in Wilsonville history to crack the 18-minute mark in a 5,000-meter race. Rawlings, who has won four of her six races this season, claimed the league crown last year with an 18:47.5.

Haley Prusse: With the No. 9 ranking the NWOC, she has been a major contributor for the Wildcats in her standout freshman campaign. Prusse, who was her team’s fifth scorer at the NWOC preview Sept. 11, had Wilsonville’s third-best time in Hillsboro two weeks later and jumped into the squad’s No. 2 spot Oct. 11 at Sandelie Golf Course, where she clocked a career-best time of 20:50.3.

Christie Halverson: The senior enters the district meet ranked No. 11 in the conference standings with a time of 21:04.9, which she clocked Sept. 21 at the Fort Steilacoom Invitational in Washington. Halverson, also a standout swimmer, raced in last year’s NWOC finals despite being ill and logged the team’s seventh-best time.

Emily Gillett: Entering the NWOC finals, the junior holds the No. 12 spot in the district rankings with a personal-best time of 21:05.1. Gillett has made huge strides since earning the Wildcats’ ninth-fastest time in the district meet’s junior varsity race last year. She placed 11th at last month’s league preview with a 22:55.

Chloe Tomlinson: The junior heads into the district meet on the heels of her second sub-22-minute performance Oct. 11 at Sandelie Golf Course. The first occurrence was last year, when she clocked a career-record 21:24.9 at the NWOC championships. Tomlinson, who placed 10th at the district preview, is currently ranked No. 19 in the league standings.

Brianna Fernandez: Ranked No. 20 in the conference entering the district championships, the junior logged a personal-record 21:42.4 in Wilsonville’s recent meet at Sandelie Golf Course. Fernandez, who placed eighth in the junior varsity race at last year’s NWOC finals, finished in 19th in the district preview at Blue Lake Regional Park earlier this season.

Toni Gowen: The junior enters the district meet ranked No. 21 in the conference standings thanks to her time of 21:43.2 at Sandelie Golf Course. Gowen ended her sophomore campaign on a high note, placing ninth at the NWOC finals with a career-best 20:23.1. She placed 17th in the Sept. 11 league preview.

Meagan Koeroghlian: Ranked No. 23 in the district standings, the senior enters the league finals on the heels of clocking a season-best 21:51.0 at Sandelie Golf Course. Koeroghlian, who placed 15th at the NWOC preview earlier this year, was the runner-up in last year’s junior varsity district race with a personal-record time of 21:49.4.



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