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Powered by Mason Rouches' 18th-place finish, Glencoe cracks the top-10 as a team

EUGENE — A school with a 30-plus-year history achieved a new first last week.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Glencoe senior Mason Rouches heads for the home stretch during last Saturday's Class 6A state cross-country championships in Eugene.

On Saturday, the Glencoe boys cross-country team competed in the state meet for the first time, and Crimson Tide did just fine. Led by state meet veteran Mason Rouches, Glencoe took ninth place in the Class 6A boys race with 181 points.

In a competitive field, the Tide were just four points out of eighth place, 13 out of seventh, and 33 out of fourth. Central Catholic breezed to the state championship at Lane Community College with 33 points, 61 fewer than Sheldon.

“I thought overall they ran great. Most of those guys had some of their top times ever on a ... challenging course,” Glencoe coach Dennis Rice said. “It was a really fun trip for us.”

As consistent as ever, Mason Rouches capped his career with an 18th-place finish. The Tide senior covered the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 11 seconds. Central Catholic’s Kyle Thompson was the individual winner in 15:22, while Rouches was the second finisher from the Pacific Conference and four seconds faster than he was at the Pacific Conference district meet two weeks ago.

Not only that, but Rouches also was improved greatly from his 2012 state meet result, when he finished 46th in 17:00. In fact, that 18th place was good enough to qualify Rouches for Nike Border Clash, an annual race that pits the top prep cross-country runners from Washington and Oregon against each other on a course at Nike’s world headquarters. The 15th edition is slated for Saturday, Nov. 23.

At 25th overall in 16:29, Abe Teklu also finished well up in the state field for Glencoe, and Miles Rouches rounded out the Tide triumvirate in 33rd place in 16:38 — like his brother’s, it was a better performance than he had in the district meet.

“It speaks really highly to how prepared they were to compete,” Rice said about the trio’s 2-3-4 finish among Pacific runners. “It was less about times at this point and more about competing. We knew we could go out there and run well and could compete hard.”

Landon Apeland (81st, 17:35) and Brian Gerig (89th, 17:45) completed Glencoe’s scoring, while Taylor England (102nd, 18:43) and Martin Sulaj (104th, 19:00) also competed for the Tide.

For Glencoe, the state meet experience was about more than racing. Last Friday, the day before the meet, the entire team saw off the boys varsity squad and girls individual qualifier Kari Zickel.

But all of the Tide were in for a special surprise, as Mo Farah dropped in to wish the team well, answer questions and take photos. Farah won two gold medals in track and field distance running events at last year’s London Olympics for his home country of Great Britain. He lives in the Portland area and trains under Alberto Salazar with the Nike Oregon Project.

“The kids are huge fans, too — the majority of those kids,” Rice said. “I think that for a group of cross-country kids, you can compare it to, I don’t know, LeBron James showing up for the basketball team or something.”

While in Eugene, the state meet participants also took a trip to Pre’s Rock, the site where Oregon distance running legend Steve Prefontaine died in the Eugene hills not far from the University of Oregon campus.

As for Zickel, she took 62nd in her first state meet. The junior, who was one of three girls from Hillsboro schools to qualify for the Class 6A girls race, finished in 20:50.

Century junior Braanna Weber, another state meet rookie, was 53rd in 20:36. Hillsboro’s Lauren Lykins, a four-time state qualifier, was 59th in 20:43. Grant’s Ella Dohaghu won the individual title in 18:01, and Sunset turned back St. Mary’s Academy 56-71 to win its first team crown since 1989.

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