The Cougars place third among Three Rivers League teams at a crossover meet in Portland.

by: JEFF GOODMAN / FILE - Ethan Patterson, shown at the Three Rivers League district finals last year, was the fifth scorer for the Canby boys cross-country team Sept. 10 at Fernhill Park in Portland.The Canby boys cross-country team isn’t likely to catch West Linn in the race for a district title. But it doesn’t necessarily have to.

As the Cougars discovered at an early-season crossover meet featuring schools from the Three Rivers League and Mt. Hood Conference, which was held Sept. 10 at Fernhill Park in Portland, they appear to be within striking distance of a top-two finish in their district standings.

They placed sixth overall and third among TRL teams with 153 points, ending up well behind the first-place Lions (40) but close enough to Lakeridge (107) to intrigue longtime coach Tom Millbrooke.

“West Linn is probably one of the top four or five teams in the state, so the challenge in front of our boys is trying to close the gap on Lakeridge,” Millbrooke said. “If we’re gonna go to state, which is every team’s goal, it looks like Lakeridge is the team that we’ll have to battle with.”

Despite the absence of graduated standout Julian Heninger, last year’s district champion, the senior-less Lakeridge lineup posted a 10-18-25-26-28 finish at the crossover meet. Canby was represented by five runners in the top 40, crossing the finish line in 17-22-35-39-40 fashion.

Steven Cranston led the Cougars for the second meet in a row, logging a career-best time of 17 minutes 6 seconds to place 17th out of 112 runners in a race won by Reynolds senior Ahmed Ibrahim (15:48).

For Cranston, it was a 21-second improvement on his time in the season opener six days earlier and nearly 3 minutes faster than his time at the same crossover meet a year ago.

Millbrooke said Cranston has trained extensively since placing 43rd at last year’s district cross-country championships. This past spring, he took seventh in the 3,000-meter race at the district track and field finals. Over the summer, he and fellow sophomore Quinton Wiltshire participated regularly in Millbrooke’s training program.

Wiltshire recorded a personal-record 17:19 to place 22nd after taking 63rd at the same meet last season.

“They were pretty consistent with running over the summer, and that really shows up this time of the year,” Millbrooke said. “We haven’t had a group of kids in a while who have been willing to do it, so hopefully this might light a little fire under some of them. Distance running is a sport that rewards persistence and hard work over time.”

Morgan Webber, Brendan Seehaver and junior Ethan Patterson rounded out Canby’s top five on the boys side.

It came as no surprise to Millbrooke that Hannah Stobie, who also ran regularly over the summer, was Canby’s top finisher in the girls race. The junior clocked a season-best 22:33 to take 41st place out of 105 athletes.

Senior newcomer Sarah Dietrich, freshman Shailynn Hestand, sophomore Jasmine Ekenbarger and junior Sarah Gent rounded out the Cougars’ top five for a 41-62-72-82-85 finish.

Canby had 288 points and placed 12th as a team in a meet won by St. Mary’s Academy (30). Portland-Grant senior Piper Donaghu (19:00) snagged top honors.

“We knew that we’d have to be patient with the girls,” Millbrooke said. “They competed well, but we just don’t have a lot starting out. We’ll get better as the season goes on.”

Meanwhile, the crossover meet also doubled as the Cougars’ dual competition against Clackamas. They won 17-44 on the boys side but fell 17-43 in the girls standings.

“I told the kids ahead of time that we were scoring against them, but it wasn’t a point of emphasis,” Millbrooke said. “We’re just finding out where we’re at.”

Millbrooke added that he’s looking forward to utilizing Canby’s extended break between races. The team doesn’t compete again until a Sept. 21 invitational at Oregon City High School.

“I really don’t mind that,” he said. “The kids might mind more when they see what I do to them conditioning-wise. But we really need to get some training in. I looked at the schedule and said, ‘Good.’ We have an 11-day period of no racing, so hopefully we can make some progress.”



MHC/TRL Crossover Meet

Sept. 10 at Fernhill Park (Portland)

BOYS: 1. West Linn, 40; 2. Central Catholic, 65; 3. Lakeridge, 107; 4. David Douglas, 117; 5. Reynolds, 136; 6. Canby, 153; 7. Barlow, 224; 8. Centennial, 232; 9. Oregon City, 245; 10. Lake Oswego, 267; 11. Clackamas, 307; 12. Gresham, 316; 13. Grant, 338.

Canby (top five): 17. Steven Cranston, 17:06; 22. Quinton Wiltshire, 17:19; 35. Morgan Webber, 18:00; 39; Brendan Seehaver, 18:06; 40. Ethan Patterson, 18:07.

GIRLS: 1. St. Mary’s Academy, 30; 2. Lakeridge, 97; 3. Reynolds, 126; 4. Clackamas, 154; 5. David Douglas, 160; 6. West Linn, 172; 7. Central Catholic, 180; 8. Lake Oswego, 189; 9. Grant, 196; 10. Barlow, 197; 11. Oregon City, 272; 12. Canby, 288.

Canby (top five): 41. Hannah Stobie, 22:23; 62. Sarah Dietrich, 23:27; 72. Shailynn Hestand, 23:46; 82. Jasmine Ekenbarger, 24:06; 85. Sarah Gent, 24:12.

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