Dave Marks' great year is getting greater.

Lakeridge High School's long distance standout raced to victory in the 3000 meters at the Crater Rotary Classic on Saturday.

The senior clocked a time of 8:54.78. And he did it in a snowstorm, something most track and field athletes don't expect to have to contend with, especially in the middle of April.

'Dave is having a great year,' said Coach Joseph Schloetter. 'I could not be more happy with his progress.

'Last year he only had one race under nine minutes. This year he has not had a race over 8:57. His race at Crater was outstanding, although most of the big names in that meet decided to run the 1500 and 800. Dave still led wire-to-wire.'

Afterward, Marks told Schloetter that conditions were so cold that he could not feel his face after the first few laps.

'To run that time, in that way, in that weather, shows that Dave is ready for the big races,' Schloetter said.

Other Pacer standouts at Crater were Ryan Williams, who clocked a 43.08 in the 300-meter hurdles to take sixth place; Kevin Pearson, who set a personal record of 2:05.75 in the 800 meters; and Max Heninger, who 'ran a great 400' in a time of 54.18.

For the Lakeridge girls of coach Ken James, rapidly improving sophomore Allyson Miller took first place in the javelin with an impressive heave of 124-09.

Upcoming meets for Schloetter's tracksters include a dual meet at Lake Oswego on April 30, the Jesuit Twilight Relays on May 2, and Milwaukie on May 7.

'We are focusing on getting healthy and fast at the end of the season,' Schloetter said.

While the Pacers lack the depth to test larger teams in dual meets in the Three Rivers League, Schloetter is priming his team for an outstanding performance at the league meet on May 14 and 16.

Schloetter said, 'I see dual meets as an antiquated system in which the number of athletes determines the winner rather than the quality. While our boys have talent, we don't have the numbers to compete with the larger teams in the TRL.

'We are looking at the district meet to see where we rank in the league, not dual meets.'

A healthy Billy Mitchell, the team's top sprinter, will make a big difference for Lakeridge down the stretch.

Marks ranks as the current favorite to win the district 3000, and he will also run the 1500.

'If things go right, we can send five or six athletes to state,' Schloetter said.

Lakeridge took on West Linn in a Three Rivers League dual meet on Wednesday but results were not available at press time.

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