The Lakeridge and Lake Oswego boys cross country teams got an up close and personal look at the Three Rivers League's best last week.
The Pacers and Lakers also got an idea about where they stand among those teams, at least at this point in the season, at the TRL Preview Meet on Sept. 19 at Tualatin High School.
West Linn won the meet with a total of 36 points, while second-place Tualatin finished at 56 and Lakeridge was third at 74. Those top three teams were followed by Canby at 95, Oregon City at 102, Tigard at 153 and Lake Oswego at 202.
The Pacers were encouraged by their performance knowing that, if they can repeat it at the TRL District Meet, they'll earn a berth to the Class 6A state meet.
"As a team, we were hoping to run as a pack and move up as a pack," said Lakeridge senior Evan Wheeler, who placed seventh overall to lead the Pacers with a personal best time of 16 minutes, 35 seconds. "I think we accomplished that. We're hoping to go all the way to state if we can."
For the Lakers, the TRL Preview gave them a chance to compete and prove themselves after a less than stellar performance in their 2018 season opener.
"Last meet, we didn't really step up and our coach kind of translated that to us and I think we all did better," said Laker junior Matthew Zimmerman, who led his team with a 38th-place finish at 18:00.
While West Linn and Tualatin took the day's top two spots — the Lions had the day's second, third, fourth and sixth finishers while Tualatin's Andrew Payton won the race at 15:51 — the Pacers were close behind in third.
After Wheeler's seventh-place finish, junior Paul Corso placed 11th with a personal-best time of 16:49, junior Aidan Strealy took 15th with a time of 16:59, senior Wyatt Morris finished 18th at 17:09 and senior Aymeric Feyfant was 23rd with a 17:27.
"It was a lot of fun, a lot of great competition and you get to move up with people you normally wouldn't get to in a normal race," Wheeler said.
Also in the Pacers' top seven were Colin McNeill (31st at 17:47) and Reed Patricelli (45th at 18:16).
After Zimmerman's finish for Lake Oswego, freshman Dublin Gingerich took 42nd with a personal-best time of time of 18:10, junior Sam Palmer took 47th at 18:27, junior Lance Pancoast grabbed 54th with a PR of 18:41 and senior Matt Hofman was 56th at 18:46.
"I think it was pretty good," Zimmerman said. "There wasn't really anyone I wanted to run with — I just wanted to get under 17 (minutes) and be at the top of the team."
Also in the Lakers' top seven were Eric Snell (59th at 19:24) and Augie Rodegerts (60th at 19:29)
Next up, the Pacers will run in the Nike Portland XC event on Saturday at Portland Meadows, the Lakers will participate in the One Mile Run at Springbrook Park at 5 p.m. Sept. 27, after that, Lake Oswego will face Lakeridge at Lakeridge High School on Oct. 3.
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