High school cross country: Lakeridge shines at Three Rivers League Preview
The annual Three Rivers League Preview sets the pace for the upcoming cross country season. If this year's races are any indication, the Lakeridge Pacers are set.
On Wednesday, Sept. 7, at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Lakeridge won the boys meet behind a strong winning performance from senior Luke Loomis, as well as a second-place finish for sophomore Curran Fogarty. Prior to that, the Pacers took second in the girls meet on the strength of junior Breckyn Kornachuk, who finished third overall.
Loomis leads Lakeridge boys
In the boys meet, Lakeridge won with 35 total points, by far the lowest of the six-team event. Taking second in the team scoring was West Linn (59 points), followed by Tualatin (84), Lake Oswego (91), Tigard (103) and Oregon City (147). Loomis won the race in 16:36.49, more than 30 seconds faster than the time he logged at state last year.
"I think our team is the strongest mentally," said Loomis, "because we really work with each other, really support each other. We're not only teammates, but friends, too. We really like to compete."
"That's just the environment that Lakeridge cross country tends to bring," Loomis added of the close-knit nature of the team. "It tends to bring people together. I have friends from all different spectrums, all different venues, but we all come together because of the sport and because of each other."
Besides Loomis and Fogarty, who set a new personal record of 16:56.46 while taking second, Pacer boys had two other runners finish in under 18 minutes. Walker Godfrey (17:36.78) took eighth place, and fellow senior Jack Andrews (17:56.51) finished 11th overall. Two more Lakeridge runners just missed that mark, with freshman Ta Ohr (18:00.05) and senior Alex Torres (18:03.03) taking 13th and 14th place, respectively. Those performances gave the Pacers a clear-cut win over their district foes.
"It hasn't specifically been said, but everyone wants that third district title," Loomis noted. "We're definitely a team to do it. Each [race], we have new people that, if someone falls back, they'll step up no matter what."
West Linn, meanwhile, got a strong showing from its own crop of seniors. Kogen Brown (17:15.31) placed fourth overall, followed by Sam Sanford, who logged a new PR time of 17:31.72 to take sixth. Fellow seniors Liam Groah (17:48.98) and Tyler Coke (18:04.72) both placed in the top 15, and junior Jack Johnston (18:40.47) rounded out the scoring with a 24th-place finish.
While the teams at Lake Oswego and Oregon City are still behind Lakeridge and West Linn, both schools had some impressive performances at the Three Rivers League XC Preview. Lake Oswego senior Garret Anderson finished seventh overall with a time of 17:34.71, which would be good enough to qualify for state if he repeated that finish at the district tournament. As for the Pioneers, junior Adam White registered a new PR time of 18:30.26 to take 21st place, the best among the Oregon City boys.
Kornachuk keeps up the pace
In the girls meet, things were not so straightforward. Tigard came away with the team win after finishing with four runners in the top eight spots to score 42 points. Lakeridge was next at 52 points, with Lake Oswego placing third at 72. The overall winner of the race, however, was St. Mary's senior Sadie Drucker, who led the Blues to a fourth-place finish (106 points). Rounding out the scoring was West Linn (128), Oregon City (138) and Tualatin (145).
Kornachuk logged a time of 19:40.93 to take third overall, despite dealing with some chest tightness during the race. The Lakeridge junior still has some rust to shake off as she looks to dip back under the 18:00 mark for the second time in her high school career.
"I was expecting a little bit better," admitted Kornachuk. "I experienced a chest cramp, and it was a little bit warmer than we were expecting."
For the Pacers, freshman Grace Houlihan also had an outstanding performance. Houlihan placed fifth overall at 19:52.43 — a full minute faster than her first performance at the Ultimook Race on Sept. 3. Junior Olivia Smith (20:39.58), as well as sophomores Sigrid Brakenhielm (20:59.12) and Rachel Fleck (21:03.84) each placed within the top 20.
"They did really good," said Kornachuk of her teammates. "I feel like as soon as I stopped, I could see them all coming right in. It was really cool. We've got a really good lineup this year. I think we did more — and we've got more to come."
Lake Oswego also had a pair of top-10 finishers, led by sophomore Sofie Howard, who took sixth overall at 19:58.22 and was the only Laker girl to dip under the 20-minute mark. Noelle Plasse, a sophomore, took 10th overall with her 20:34.63. The other scoring runners for Lake Oswego were sophomore Joelle Thompson (20:49.53), Taylor Sheldon (21:03.44) and Sydney Lim (21:51.11).
Oregon City got a pair of strong performances out of senior Avery Sorenson, who took 14th with a time of 20:56.98, and junior Lydia Dale, who came in at 21:03.81 to place 17th overall. As for West Linn, the top Lion finisher was senior Audrey Jacklyn (21:18.02). She placed 20th in the race, with three more teammates — freshman Kendall Atwood (21:27.32), freshman Violet Gowdy (21:39.94) and sophomore Sabrina Noce (21:44.32) — all finishing between 21st and 25th place.
For Lake Oswego, Lakeridge and West Linn, the cross country season continues on Friday, Sept. 16, with the Meriwether CC Classic at Meriwether National Golf Club in Hillsboro. For Oregon City, the next race is Saturday, Sept. 17, when the Pioneers host the Oregon City XC Invitational at Oregon City High School.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.