Forest Grove's cross-country teams both repeat as district champs and finish in the Top 10 at state

Cross-country success is nothing new for Forest Grove, but it sure doesn’t get old.

In October, for the second year in a row, the Vikings swept both the boys and girls team titles at the Pacific Conference district meet at Clackamas Community College. And at the Class 6A state meet the following week in Eugene, the girls took eighth place while the boys finished ninth.

At the district meet, the Lady Vikings scored 48 points, edging second-place Newberg by five points. Elena Torry-Schrag paced the squad by finishing fifth in the 5-kilometer race with a time of 20 minutes, 42 seconds. Rubi Vergara-Grindell was not far behind in sixth (20:49).

For the boys team, Judd Parson took third in 17:06, Seth Berdahl was fourth in 17:11, and Connor Pitt finished 10th in 17:27. The Vikings’ total of 47 points easily eclipsed runner-up Tualatin (59).

In Eugene, the girls were eighth for the second consecutive year, scoring 223 points. Torry-Schrag and Vergara-Grindell again led the way, finishing 52nd in 20:50 and 56th in 20:53, respectively. Parson took 37th (16:48) to help the Viking boys — who were making their eighth appearance in nine years at the state meet –— score 218 points in their ninth-place effort. Berdahl also finished inside the top 50 runners, in 47th place (17:05).

The boys team’s success came despite the fact that the Vikings were without the services of Geremia Lizier-Zmudzinski all season. After finishing 17th at the state cross-country meet in 2011 and winning the Class 6A state 1,500-meter title on the track last spring as just a sophomore, Lizier-Zmudzinski suffered a series of injuries that kept him sidelined for all of the 2012 cross-country season and for much of this spring’s track and field campaign.

The junior standout did complete two races this spring — setting a school record of 8:51.15 in the 3,000 at the Wilsonville Invitational on April 20 — before calf issues forced him to step away from racing for the rest of the season. The good news is that cross-country coach Sue Fleskes does expect him back for his senior year.

Also in track and field, the Vikings sent two girls to the Class 6A state meet in Eugene this May. In her state meet debut, junior Shannon Hammond cleared a personal-best height of 5 feet, 1 inch, to finish seventh in the high jump. Freshman Alyssa Villalobos also competed in Eugene, finishing 14th in the long jump. The talented newcomer set a freshman school record of 16-10½ to take third place at the district meet.

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