There's never a bad time to test yourself against the best, so that's just what the Gladstone boys cross country team did Wednesday, Oct. 13.
The Gladiators ran to a sixth-place finish in the field of eight teams at the Estacada Invite at McIver Park, their efforts led by junior Paxton Hummel and his eighth-place finish among 53 runners.
"I feel tired, but I beat my previous record by three seconds," Hummel said. "I was in the top 10 the whole time. I'm really impressed with myself for being able to keep up."
In the team scoring, Ridgefield, Washington — the Spuds had the top three individual finishers in the race — finished first with 24 points, followed by North Marion 77, Corbett 94, Molalla 98, Estacada 118, Gladstone 136, Riverdale 142 and Sheridan 171.
For Hummel, his finishing time of 18 minutes, 33.80 seconds for the 5-kilometer race marked a 3-second improvement over his previous best and left him 25 seconds behind Ridgefield junior winner Liam Rapp's mark of 18:08.90.
"I was just trying to beat my previous record," Hummel said. "Last time (I PR'd), it was pouring hard the whole way and I was slipping, so I was surprised I got it. I'm impressed that I even made a PR."
After Hummel's eighth-place finish, the rest of the Gladiators' varsity finishers included freshman Josiah Sanderson (20th at 20:15.400, freshman Morgen Kelly (38th at 23:02.00), senior Hassan Ayach (42nd at 23:34.00) and senior Blake Meisner (48th at 24:47.20).
While the Gladiators are looking ahead to the Tri-Valley Conference district meet in two weeks, Hummel said he is unsure about how the team would fare. The district meet is set for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, at McIver Park.
"I'm not sure yet," Hummel admitted, but "if we make it to state, that would be awesome."
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