Forest Grove harriers show-out at state cross country meet
That was a nice rebound.
Following a somewhat disappointing finish at the previous week's Greater Valley Conference district cross country meet, Forest Grove's Vikings redeemed themselves at the OSAA State 6A cross country championships Saturday, Nov. 4, at Lane Community College in Eugene.
The Viking girls team finished an impressive eighth in a field of 18 squads, while the boys were 15th. Forest Grove's Quincy Norman, Hannah Berdahl and Hannah Aguirre all earned all-state honors based on their top-25 finishes, and Norman — who was undefeated in GVC competitions throughout the season — placed third out of 140 state-qualified competitors.
"It was an exciting race and Quincy even led for a bit in the first mile," said Forest Grove head coach Adrian Shipley. "That was really good experience for a sophomore to help dictate a race like that and not let the lead guys go out too easy early on."
The lead pack stuck together for much of the race until the eventual winner, Wilson's Alex Slenning, broke from the pack at the start of the final kilometer. McMinnville's Zane Fodge and Jesuit's Joshua Schumacker tried to match his move while Norman stayed back, conserving energy he wanted to use over the final 400 meters to catch Schumacher and a couple others to capture third place and impress his coach in the process.
"I think Quincy ran a pretty tactical race," said Shipley. "He played it smart because when Slenning opened up a pretty good gap and Schumacker and Fodge went to get him, they couldn't hold the move and Quincy made them pay for it at the end."
Quincy's brother Max placed a very respectable 30th in the race, also impressing Shipley considering a limited training schedule due to an injury he suffered last spring.
"Max did really well considering having to come off his injury last spring," Shipley said. "I know he wanted to make all-state, but he wasn't able to train quite as much as he had in the past, so I was excited for how he finished."
Other Viking boys' finishers included sophomore Asker Almeda, 123rd; sophomore Jonathan Wallace, 134th; junior Isaac Lopez-Haas, 136th; and freshman Ben Schnorr, 138th.
The girls were led by Berdahl's 19th place finish, while junior Hannah Aguirre placed 25th to pace the Vikings and garner all-state honors in the process. Forest Grove's eighth place finish was a spot higher than last year, and according to Shipley, came in a much more competitive meet.
"I was stoked about the girls finish," Shipley said. "They showed how valuable experience is at the state meet, and considering we'll return seven of the nine girls we brought to the meet, that will surely help us heading into next season."
The coach also spoke glowingly about Berdahl's and Aguirre's performances, speaking to its historical relevance.
"We've only had a couple girls ever finish all-state, and to have two in the same year is pretty awesome," Shipley said.
Other Viking girl finishers included junior Elizabeth Khoury, finishing 67th; junior Mila Lumae, 70th; sophomore Joelle Thacker, 112th; and sophomore Cynthia Torres, 126th.
So was Shipley surprised by his team's performance?
"Not at all," said the coach. "The kids challenge themselves and run really well, and with their potential and ceiling I never really have limiting thoughts as far as what they can do. I was more excited than surprised."