CROSS COUNTRY: Forest Grove finishes fourth in a stacked field at the New Balance Invitational

Forest Grove justified its No. 8 state cross country ranking over the weekend, finishing fourth at the ultra-competitive New Balance Invitational at Western Oregon University.

Competing in the upper Sweepstakes Division, all seven of Forest Grove's runners finished in the top 40, led by senior Josh Seitz, whose time of 16:11.6 set a new school record and landed him fourth out of 94 runners.

Seitz was not only Forest Grove's top finisher, but also the top individual finisher from Oregon, surging past Lincoln's Matt Parker at the finish line. Parker took fifth place with a time of 16:12.0, but his Lincoln squad edged Forest Grove by 14 points to claim second place overall.

The Vikings finished with 111 points, just three points behind third-place Skyline (Wash.) and 38 points off the pace set by first-place Sehome (Wash.).

Seitz's performance led the way for Forest Grove, but he got plenty of help from his teammates. Justin Marble took 17th place with a time of 16:41.8 and Eric Weinbender was 21st with a time of 16:49.7.

The next four Vikings finished in a pack, with Dusty Klein taking 34th (17:12.6), Nick Wallace claiming 35th (17:13.0), Nick Robbins nabbing 36th (17:16.8) and Chris Patterson seizing 38th (17:17.5).

Skyline's Matt Frerker won the individual crown, finishing in 15:37.1.

The Forest Grove girls, meanwhile, competed in the lower Invitational Division and took seventh place in an 18-team field.

Junior Danielle Jackson finished 17th with a time of 21:31.1 to lead the way for the Lady Vikings. Sarah Amina added a 36th-place finish in 22:08.6 and freshmen Laura Matzke and Sarah Howe took 45th and 46th, respectively. Matzke finished in 22:32.0 to set a new freshman school record and Howe ran the course in 22:34.6.

Other Forest Grove finishers included Molly Buckiewicz in 50th place (22:44.1), Aubrey Peters in 61st (23:15.0) and Leah Tanous in 81st (24:05.5).

Gresham won the girls' Invitational Division with 89 points. Hillsboro's Tricia Morrison was the top individual performer with a time of 19:38.4.

Squalicum (Wash.) took first in the girls' Sweepstakes Division, with Bronwyn Crossman, Emily Schick and Sophie Curl taking three of the top four sports. Crossman's winning time was 18:22.8.

David Douglas finished first in the boys' Invitational Division, riding the strength of Jared Correll's winning performance. Correll finished in 16:35.8 while teammate Luke Correll finished fifth (16:46.7).

Forest Grove travels to Milwaukie today to face Canby in its first Pacific Conference meet of the season.

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