The beginning of the 2023 Oregon high school cross country campaign started on Friday night at Wilsonville High School. Athletes race by grade over a flat and fast 3000-meter course at the high school on a warm evening (the meet was delayed briefly to help the runners race in cooler conditions).
Athletes introduce themselves to high school competition in the freshman division race. At the one-mile mark, five girls, Ellery Lincoln of Lincoln, Evylee Bugher of Sherwood, Tyler Thomas of Sherwood, Naomi Cesar of Sunset and Brooke Bush of Tillamook led the freshman group. At the finish, Ellery Lincoln of Lincoln won her first high school race in 11:15.6. Sherwood girls put five girls in the top 13 and showed freshman depth.
Paul Hretcanu of Tigard took control of the race early by building a five second lead at the mile mark. Paul went on to win convincingly at 9:41.6. Grant, Tigard and McMinnville have bright futures with their freshman boys running well on Friday.
Freshman photo gallery, click HERE
At the one mile mark, Avery Meier of West Salem, Elyse Henriksen of Lincoln, Elissa Schaeffer of Sunset and last year's freshman champion Madison Zemper-Prill of South Eugene led the sophomore race. Avery ran an impressive second half of the race to pull away for the win in 10:37.5. Avery's West Salem team had three runners in the top 12 and had the strongest sophomore showing.
Liam Wilde of the host school Wilsonville showed patience in the first part of the race and gradually took the lead with Kai Jensen of Cleveland staying with Wilde to the finish. Wilde edged Jensen at the line in a time of 9:29.1 Lincoln placed five boys in the top 18 and was the class of the sophomore division.
Sophomore photo gallery, click HERE
Ana Peters of Lake Oswego won the sophomore race last year and easily defended her class title. Ana built a 16-second lead at the mile mark and won the 3000-meter course in 10:28.2 which was the fasted time of meet. Lake Oswego sophomore girls dominated the division as Ana's teammate Sofie Howard finished second in the race.
Ten junior boys came by the mile mark at five minutes and Brennan McEwen of Franklin ran a strong second half to win by nearly eleven seconds with a time of 9:01.2. Brennan's teammates Zafer Courcelle and Leaf McQuillen finished next. Central Catholic boys had the deepest team in the junior division.
Junior photo gallery, click HERE
There were nine girls running near each other at the mile mark and as the athletes got to the final stretch at the track, two league rivals, Josie Fale of Ida B Wells and Keira Saavedra of Lincoln, raced each other to the finish. Fale took the victory in a time 10:35.9. Sunset girls led the way for the seniors.
Much like the senior girl's race, the senior boys had a big pack at the mile mark. Once the athletes entered the track, the race came down to Asher Danielson of Ida B Wells, Collin Penuel of Southridge, Jack Meier, who won the junior race last year, of West Salem and Leo Cook of Lake Oswego. With about 300-meters to go, Penuel took the lead with Danielson giving chase. Danielson gave Ida B Wells the sweep of the senior individual titles with the 8:47.0 win. South Eugene senior boys had the best depth.
Senior photo gallery, click HERE
Merging all the races from the Night Meet, Lincoln came out on top with five girls under 11:30. Sunset girls had five girls 11:31 or faster. Franklin boys were the most impressive with six boys 9:15 or faster.
West Coast XC heads to California next weekend for the UCSB Invitational and Cool Breeze Invitational.