Runners hitting mid-season stride as September comes to a close
Parkrose's Ahmed Ibrahim ran the cross country race that he wanted to run — not too fast, but fast enough that nobody was going to beat him to the finish line.
Ibrahim ran stride for stride with Milwaukie's Logan Law and then pulled away over the final half mile to win Wednesday's Northwest Oregon Conference varsity boys race in 17 minutes, 8.81 seconds at Westmoreland Park in Southeast Portland.
Law finished second in 17:11.28, and La Salle Prep's Alex Willard-Herr was a distant third in 18:01.34.
Ibrahim's winning time was more than two minutes off his personal best, but the Broncos' sensational senior was trying to save his energy for Saturday's prestigious Nike Portland XC meet at Blue Lake Park in Fairview.
"I could have run faster, but there was no point," Ibrahim said. "I was a little sore from the workout we did in the weight room on Monday, so I just wanted to stretch my legs out and get ready for the Nike race on Saturday."
Racing conditions were ideal on Wednesday — sunny and not to hot on an extremely flat course that Ibrahim could have burned up if had wanted to.
"Yeah, but there wasn't enough competition, so I'd rather save it for the Nike," he said. "I just wanted to run an easy pace, as easy as possible, and try to keep the team together and win the team race."
Parkrose's Tristen Yates finished fourth overall in 18:04.38, and the next three Parkrose runners all placed among the top 10 as the Broncos ran away with each of their three dual races, beating La Salle Prep, 25-30; Milwaukie, 19-42, and Hillsboro, 16-40.
Ibrahim, who ran away with last season's NWOC district title in 15:17.2, was impressed to see Law, the Milwaukie freshman, helping set the pace Wednesday.
"He pushed me a little bit," Ibrahim said. "I wasn't expecting that, but he's really, really talented for a freshman. He's going to do great things between now and his senior year."
Law also was looking ahead to Saturday's Nike meet, so he too held back a bit on Wednesday, although he started thinking that if he could hang with Ibrahim long enough and "maybe make it a kick race" at the end.
"I wasn't trying to go too hard today," Law said. "I was a bit reserved, but I was still pushing it. We came around for the last time and Ahmed was pulling me along, and then about 1,000 meters from the finish, he just took off.
"I was actually going pretty quick, but he was going way faster."
Law clocked in at 17:11.3, which was more than a minute off his personal best of 16:10.7, set at the Sept. 14 Oregon City XC Invitational.
"This season has gone a little better than expected," Law said. "I thought I'd start out running about 16:20 or 16:30. My first race was actually 16:29, and then my second 5k, I ran 16:10. So, for those two races, I stayed consistent."
THREE RIVERS LEAGUE: Oregon City's Max Reed and Grant Pauli finished 1-2, respectively, but the Pioneers next three runners lost crucial position over the final half-mile stretch, allowing Lakeridge to edge the Pioneers 27-28 in the boys' team race at Wednesday's Three Rivers League meet at Lakeridge High School.
Reed broke from the lead pack before the end of the first mile to win in 16:54.23, while Pauli overtook Canby's Matthew Powell less than a mile from the finish to place second in 17:20.69.
Oregon City was in position to win the team race about a half-mile from the finish with Daniel Polanco running fifth, Danny Brito sixth, and Jonathan Schaffer ninth.
But Lakeridge's trio of Mathew Rasdale, Aidan Strealy, and Wilson Godfrey surged late to finish 4-5-6, respectively, while Brito faded to seventh, Oregon City's Christopher Young finished as the Pioneers' No. 4 runner in 10th, Polanco dropped to 12th, and Schaffer finished 13th.
"I think our top two guys ran well, and as a group we ran strong for about 2 1/2 miles," Pioneers coach Brandon Lee said. "We kind of lost it all at the end there.
"I think the boys are gong to be a little disappointed. They weren't expecting to have a league loss this early. Now they have to handle business in a few weeks at Tualatin and beat everybody. Hopefully, this meet is motivation for them to step up and get a little revenge."
Lee is confident that the Pioneers could gain an edge on Lakeridge in a multi-team meet such as the Oct. 30 district championships at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City where more runners having an impact on the team scoring as far as the overall distribution of points.
"It's just kind of unfortunate that head-to-head, Lakeridge got us the final 300 meters on the track, four or five places, right there," Lee said. "There are other races. We've got district and state, and those are the ones we'll be shooting for."
NIKE PORTLAND XC: Clackamas senior Benjamin Harvey placed 10 th in 16:31.3, pacing the Cavaliers to the Division 1 Varsity boys team title at Saturday's Nike Portland XC cross country meet at Blue Lake Park in Fairview.
Clackamas senior Donovan DeWhitt finished 14th, sophomore Maximilian Girardet was 19th, senior Jacob Harvey placed 33rd, and senior Trevor Nielsen crossed the finish line in 52nd, giving the Cavaliers a winning team score of 125. Eagle, Idaho finished second in the team race with 142, followed by Cathedral of Los Angeles with 162.
In the prestigious Jim Danner Championship boys division, Isaiah Galindo of Colvis North in Fresno, Calif., led a field of 195 runners in a time of 15:19.5, followed by Forest Grove's Quincy Norman in 15:24.5 and Parkrose's Ahmed Ibrahim in 15:27.
Milwaukie's Logan Law placed 43 rd in 16:24.5 and was the top freshman in the field, finishing four seconds ahead of Sehome's Zack Munson and Sheldon's Jonah Donde.
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