Wilsonville boys get 2017 cross country season started with annual Night Meet
The Friday night lights were shining brightly at Wilsonville High School.
Only this time, those lights were shining down not on a high school football team but on the Wildcats boys cross country team.
On Friday, Wilsonville High School became the center of the cross country world in Oregon when it hosted almost 1,000 of the state's best male high school runners at its annual Wilsonville Night Meet on Friday.
The night meet serves as a yearly opener for many of the state's top teams, with runners from 45 schools competing in 3,000-meters races segmented into multiple divisions by year in school.
"It was pretty exciting," said junior Nathan Tidball, Wilsonville's top finisher in the sophomore/junior 3,000. "We practice it sometimes and do our theoretical 3K pace. … It's a shorter race than usual so it's fun."
And Wilsonville wasn't just there to host the meet — the Wildcats were there to compete. Wilsonville put 38 boys runners into the day's six races, and the Cats' results boosted their optimism for the coming Northwest Oregon Conference season.
"I think we're going to have a great year," said Tidball, who joined four teammates to help Wilsonville finish fifth as a team in the sophomore/junior race. "We got second (in the NOWC district meet) last year and we have a really strong rising junior boys team which is awesome. Me and my guys are pushing each other to be faster this year."
Wilsonville runs in the NWOC Preview Meet today (Wednesday, Aug.30), participates in the Fort Steilacoom Invitational on Sept. 16, and hosts Hillsboro, St. Helens and La Salle in its NWOC opener on Sept. 20.
In the boys senior 3,000 race, Wilsonville finished with 112 points and placed seventh among 12 teams, with Wilson and Lakeridge tied for first at 83 and Aloha third at 92.
Nicholas Whitaker led the way for the Wildcats by finishing sixth in the 136-runner field with a time of 9:21.73. He was followed by teammates: Jonathan Palmer, seventh at 9:22.83; Hyrum Worth, 67th at 10:40.56; Jacob "Max" Schain, 78th at 10:58.95; and Johnny Platt, 126th at 12:43.86.
In the junior 3,000, the Wildcats finished sixth in the eight-team field with 126 points. West Linn won that division with 63 points, followed by Aloha's 64 and Lincoln at 74.
Isaac Boger was the Cats' leader there, finishing 38th at 10:23.55, and he was followed by: Jack Burns, 48th at 10:35.95; Oliver Colony, 69th at 11:14.45; Justin Carpenter, 78th at 11:26.16; and Dane Collins, 80th at 11:31.49.
Facing another large and talented field, the Wildcats placed fifth among nine teams in the Sophomore/Junior 3,000 with 96 points. Sunset won the division with 76 points while Marist was second at 80 and West Linn third at 90.
Tidball set the pace for Wilsonville in this race, placing 31st with a finishing time of 10:30.42. Just as important, he had three of his teammates close behind in the following nine places, with Jack Roche 34th at 10:32.18, Joseph Wilde 36th at 10:33.15, and Tjaden Prince 40th at 10:39.67. Zachary Smith was the fifth runner in that group, placing 48th with a time of 10:52.38.
"I had my group of people from Wilsonville that I was running with the entire race," Tidball said. "And then in the last (kilometer), I broke off and pushed out of that little pack. I just wanted to stick with my guys, which was fun."
In the sophomore 3,000, Wilsonville didn't field a complete team, but saw Jorge Aguilera Lopez place 111th at 12:09.02, and Ian Mittelbach take 112th at 12:10.69.
In the freshman 3,000, Wilsonville took 10th among 14 teams and 147 runners, finishing with 222 points. Wilson won the division with 84 points followed by Franklin's 102 and Central Catholic's 103.
Wilsonville's top five in that race was: Sebastian Pinger, 56th at 11:33.29; David Higa, 66th at 11:46.96; Ben Sheirbon, 72nd at 11:58.03; Caleb Wilde 78th at 12:05.22; and Caleb Yaso, 86th at 12:21.44
And in the 3,000 Novice race, Wilsonville's team finished seventh with 200 points among 16 teams. The Wildcats' top five finishers there were: Mason Colony, 33rd at 12:37.91; Tristan Cavarno, 47th at 13:04.85; Noah Heidelberger, 49th at 13:06.99; Jarett Prince, 50th at 13:08.75; and Briggs Moore, 68th at 13:48.67.