Three Rivers cross country: Lakeridge sweeps; Lake Oswego's Peters, Cook win
The high schools in Lake Oswego swept the day at the 2022 Three Rivers League cross country district championships on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City.
Lake Oswego High School sophomore Ana Peters won the girls individual district title, while Laker junior Leo Cook took first in the boys meet. Meanwhile, the Lakeridge Pacers earned the team titles on both sides and will send each of its full varsity teams on to state.
It marks the third season in a row that Lakeridge has swept the Three Rivers League team title race. For full district results from Athletic.net click here.
Peters pushes past Kim, Kornachuk
In the girls varsity 5K race, Peters stayed tight at the front of the pack with Tigard junior Sabine Kim and Lakeridge junior Breckyn Kornachuk for the first two laps. The Lake Oswego sophomore distanced herself down the homestretch, however, eventually finishing in 18:17.1 to win by more than six seconds.
"I just ran behind them, and then with about a kilometer to go, I made a move," said Peters after the race. After taking first place in a Three Rivers League meet on Sept. 28, she came into Wednesday's race feeling confident — and with good reason. Now, she prepares for the state finals.
"I think it will be a weird state race," said Peters, who feels confident about her chances to add a state title to the district trophy she earned in Wednesday's race. "A lot of the good girls are in 5A this year, but it should be fun."
Following behind Peters, Kim took second place and Kornachuk finished third. Next across the line, West Linn senior Kaia Schmidt staved off Lakeridge freshman Grace Houlihan for fourth place.
Kornachuk and Houlihan led the charge for Lakeridge, which finished with 52 points to win the team title comfortably. Rounding out the scoring for the Pacers were Olivia Smith, Sigrid Brakenhielm and Megan Larson.
"Throughout the season, we've been getting closer and more comfortable with each other and how we all do workouts and race," said Kornachuk of how the Lakeridge team has grown throughout the year. "It's been gradual. We've had our eyes set on districts and winning a third year in a row."
Houlihan noted that she did not expect to qualify for state as a freshman, and certainly not as a top-five finisher in the Three Rivers League.
"When I got here, all these people were so fast," said Houlihan. "I thought, 'How am I supposed to run remotely close to that?'"
On the other hand, Kornachuk was less surprised by the freshman's foray into the high school cross country scene.
"When I first met Grace, I was a little intimidated because she's a little feisty one," laughed Kornachuk. "I could tell she's a hard worker. She plays hockey, she's a lacrosse goalie and she's super competitive."
Kornachuk added: "I was a little scared of having this freshman coming up on me, but I love her."
Further down in the team scoring, Lake Oswego and Tigard tied for second with 67 points, but the tiebreaker went to the Laker team. Sofie Howard, Joelle Thompson, Taylor Sheldon and Noelle Plasse were the other scoring members of Lake Oswego's squad. The Tigers will now wait for the rest of the district results to find out whether their team will go to state as an at-large qualifier.
Meanwhile, there were nine individual qualifiers outside of the Lakeridge and Lake Oswego teams, including one representative from every Three Rivers League school.
For Tigard, Kim will be joined by at least Lillian Herman and Chloe Thompson, who placed sixth and tenth, respectively. West Linn and St. Mary's Academy each had two individual qualifiers. For the Lions, it was Schmidt and Kendall Atwood, while the Blues' state reps will be Sadie Drucker and Raquel Flores. Tualatin's Karys Gates and Oregon City's Lydia Dale will also be going to state after top-14 finishes.
"I was telling myself I could do it, and just kept on pushing," said Atwood, a freshman at West Linn who improved her time on the Clackamas Community College course by nearly two minutes. Now, she is looking to hit a goal of a sub-19-minute time at state.
Cook outlasts Lakeman for boys title
In the boys meet, Lake Oswego's Leo Cook and Tualatin's Aaron Lakeman were neck and neck for most of the race. Cook eventually pulled away, though, beating Lakeman by just shy of 10 seconds to place first with a time of 16:08.5.
"He's still not in his best shape," Cook said of Lakeman, who took second at last year's district race and has been recovering from an injury throughout this season. "He's way better than where he was a month ago when we raced. He was tough."
As for Cook, the Laker junior said that he has been encouraged by his dad this year after falling out of condition early in the season. One of his father's recommendations was to read "Running for My Life," a book by Lopez Lomong.
"He talked about how he would run 18 miles a day when he was 12, and I thought, 'Man, I need to try a little bit harder!'" Cook said with a laugh. Whatever lessons he gleaned from the book clearly worked, as he will now go to state as the Three Rivers League district champion.
Joining Cook and Lakeman at state is a strong contingent of Lakeridge boys, headlined by senior Luke Loomis and sophomore Curran Fogarty, who finished third and fourth, respectively. The other scoring Pacers on the title-winning team included Walker Godfrey, Finn Rolstad and Lassen Baertsch Kovalchick.
"We got the win, we put in the work, and we're here," said Loomis after the Pacers' victory. "We've been staying consistent, and it's mostly been mental. We all had our eyes set on winning districts, and we came in and did that. We all knew we would step up today and give it our all."
After winning their third-consecutive district title, the Pacer boys lined up for a photo op and alternated between holding up one and three fingers — one for the win, three for the streak.
Loomis added: "We were all looking for the three-peat. We all had it in our heads. To hold up the threes, it felt so great."
The other qualifying boys team at districts was Tualatin, which finished just four points behind the Pacers in the scoring. Along with Lakeman, the Timberwolves' top scorers included Jonah Beddes, Nathan Ruybalid, Timothy Parsons and Alex Erhart.
West Linn took third in the team scoring behind strong days from seniors Kogen Brown, who finished seventh overall, and Sam Sanford, who qualified in 12th place. Brown and Sanford will have to wait to find out if any of their teammates will be joining them for state.
"It wasn't great, but I still qualified for state, so I can't complain," said Sanford. His senior season has been a breakout year so far, thanks in part to getting past a mental block.
"My brain finally caught up with my training," Sanford explained. "Being a senior definitely helped with a lot more confidence. Having the whole cross country community also helped, because we're one big friend group."
Other individual qualifiers for the state championships include two Tigard runners, Eli Chesler and Jack McLean, as well as Oregon City junior Adam White. For his part, White nosed past West Linn's Liam Groah to finish in the 14th and final qualifying spot by just two tenths of a second, while also setting a new personal record.
The OSAA 6A Cross Country State Championships will be held next Saturday, Nov. 5, at Lane Community College in Eugene. For more information and to buy tickets, visit osaa.org.
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