Raiders stare down trouble to reach state
6A BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Mount Hood Conference district meet
|1. Central Catholic|
The Reynolds boys cross country team was on solid footing to chase down a state berth at Wednesday's district meet with four runners packed into the top 20.
Shortly after the 2-mile mark, trouble hit.
The Raiders No. 4 racer got hit with leg cramps, forcing him to alter his gait while runners few past. Reynolds saw its numbers going up like a kid holding a thermometer against a light bulb.
"We needed our top three to hold their spots, and both our five and six guys stepped up," Reynolds coach Tadd Reaney said. "This is a sport that is not won with just two or three fast guys, it takes the whole team."
Those No. 5 and 6 runners for the Raiders were senior Ryan Adair and sophomore Mutombo Waleu, who pushed for the finish line with a sense of urgency.
"We knew it was a close race, our main focus was Barlow, so we worked to pass as many blue shirts as possible," Adair said.
"I could feel my teammates support, and I felt like I could sprint the whole way," Waleu said.
Running side-by-side most of the way, the two Raiders passed up a handful of runners over the last mile to shrink the gap and send the team to state as the third-place qualifier out of the Mount Hood.
Reynolds finished six points ahead of Sandy and 10 ahead of Barlow.
Felipe Fraire was the pace-setter for the Raiders, claiming a top-10 finish in 16:57.7. Anthony Roberts and John Stewart were close behind.
Central Catholic won the team trophy with 45 points — two ahead of runner-up Clackamas. Both teams had three racers in a mob of eight that raced well in front of the pack throughout the 3.1-mile course. Joining them were Sandy seniors Jeret Gillingham and Tyler Callaway — each who moved into the top spot at various points.
The raced whittled down to a two-man duel between Gillingham and Donovan DeWhitt of Clackamas, as they moved onto the track for the final 500 meters. Gillingham sped away with an impressive finishing kick to win in a course-record time of 16:09.3.
"Looking at the time, we knew there were eight of us with a good chance to win, so I was expecting it to be a great race," Gillingham said. "My plan was to stay in the pack coming out, but I ended up out front. I felt good and said 'Let's make this my race.'"
Barlow's Charlie Bailey came in eighth in 16:45.7.
View photos at davidball.smugmug.com.
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