Meyer places fourth to lead Wildcats

by: PARKER LEE / PAMPLIN MEDIA - Wilsonville junior Josh Meyer placed fourth Oct. 23 at the Northwest Oregon Conference district championships at Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview. The Wildcats won their fourth-straight NWOC title.Wilsonville boys cross-country coach David Barkley entered the season knowing his team had a chance to win a fourth-straight district title.

But he also realized the feat was “not very likely” considering the Wildcats lost all five of their scoring runners from last year’s team, including league champion Ty James.

The Oct. 23 district meet at Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview, then, was a showcase of the improbable.

Wilsonville tallied 49 points to snag the team title and an automatic trip to the Nov. 2 state championships at Lane Community College in Eugene. Liberty (65) eclipsed Sherwood (74) for the league’s second state bid.

“This time around was made possible by the boys believing they should qualify (for the state meet) even when they were being beaten pretty soundly early in the season by Sherwood and Liberty,” Barkley said. “They ran the workouts like they had something to prove.”

Josh Meyer took fourth place with a time of 17 minutes 15.8 seconds, finishing behind Sandy senior Isaac Mitchell (16:27.6), Liberty senior Michael Francy (16:39.0) and St. Helens senior Bryan Strang (17:13.0).

Meyer was one of five Wildcats to place in the top 16. Alex Tomlinson added to his solid senior season with a 17:51.1, which was good for seventh place, and he was followed closely by junior Carlos Villagomez (17:51.3) in eighth. Zach Uselman (14th, 18:17.1) and Kody Wilde (16th, 18:23.6) rounded out the team score.

“During the race, they ran very smart and patient,” Barkley said. “At (the halfway point) we were in fourth place as a team, and every half mile after that they all picked off two or three kids all the way to the finish. They really could not have run much better.”

It was a remarkable exhibit of progress for a program that was humbled by some of its Northwest Oregon Conference opponents during the cross-country offseason.

“Sherwood, Liberty and Sandy were a full step ahead at the end of (the spring track season),” Barkley said. “At (preseason training camp), Sherwood crushed us on the hard runs. So we knew we had some ground to take back. The boys had really good chemistry from the start and just got to running.”

Their team chemistry will be put to the test again at the state meet, where Wilsonville placed fifth last year.

“We want to get some state experience, place as high as we can and get fixed on the idea of chasing trophies again,” Barkley said.



NWOC district championships

Oct. 23 at Blue Lake Regional Park (Fairview)

BOYS (team scores): 1. Wilsonville, 49; 2. Liberty, 65; 3. Sherwood, 74; 4. Sandy, 91; 5. St. Helens, 98; 6. Milwaukie, 160; 7. Putnam, 164; 8. Parkrose, 216.

Wilsonville (top five): 4. Josh Meyer, 17:15.8; 7. Alex Tomlinson, 17:51.1; 8. Carlos Villagomez, 17:51.3; 14. Zach Uselman, 18:17.1; 16. Kody Wilde, 18:23.6.

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