Roman and Grayson Ollar lead the West Linn boys to a berth in state meet

by: VERN UYETAKE - Roman Ollar cruised to a victory at last week's district meet, separating from the pack early to claim his first individual district championship. The West Linn boys cross-country team qualified for state in impressive fashion last week, taking second place at the district meet, just six points behind Grant.

The Lions also placed first and second individually with twins Roman and Grayson Ollar continuing their stellar seasons and pacing the team.

Roman Ollar took the pace out early, leading a small pack toward the front. The pack stayed close to Ollar through the first mile.

He would start to pull away about a third of the way through the race while Grayson Ollar kept a small lead in front of Grant's top runner.

“I always try to keep up with (Roman) for as long as possible and then he usually pulls away,” Grayson Ollar said.

Roman would cruise to victory in 16:15.23 on a picture perfect day for running at Clackamas Community College.

“I was hoping to run in the low 16s. I just wanted to get to the front and run what felt comfortable,” Roman Ollar said.

Grayson Ollar used a strong kick to fend off Grant's Henry Houghton to take second place in 16:29.27.

Conor Egan also had a very strong finish, moving up two spots in the final mile to take seventh, edging out Canby's top runner by half a second.

Jacob Evans was next for West Linn, taking 15th place in 17:11.60 while Michael Sullivan finished in 25th in 17:38.11.

Grant's depth would prove to be just enough to claim the district title. The Generals placed six runners in the top-14.

The Generals figure to be one of West Linn's biggest challengers at the state meet this weekend in Eugene. The Lions, featuring a young team with just one senior and three sophomores in its top-five, are hoping for a top-four finish, which would get the team on the podium and a trophy.

In the girls race, West Linn freshman Johanna Briscoe ran a very strong race and qualified for state as an individual.

As expected, Grant sisters Ella and Piper Donaghu took the pace out quickly and separated themselves from the pack.

Fellow freshman Maia Edwards from Clackamas also ran at a fast pace, trying to keep up with the pair of Generals for as long as possible.

But Briscoe didn't get caught up in the race of the front-runners. Early on, she found herself leading a pack of runners with Lakeridge's Lia Newman.

“It felt pretty good. I knew I didn't want to go out too quickly. I had a plan to try and run a fast, faster and fastest mile,” Briscoe said.

Midway through the race, Briscoe started to gain some separation and never looked back. She gradually separated from the pack as well and would take fourth place in a time of 20:05.71.

Hanna Morford was next for the Lions, cracking 22 minutes and placing 23rd overall.

Calin Guerins finished in 30th and Marija Jozic and Camille Collier finished back-to-back in 33rd and 34th.

As a team, the West Linn girls took fifth.

The state meet will be Saturday at Lane Community College.

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