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St. Helens Lions put together a cross-country pack as well in race at Hillsboro

They're off and running.

Scappoose and St. Helens runners got their first action in separate meets last week.

In what were initial tests of fitness and in dealing with competitors, the Indians went to the Night Meet at Wilsonville High on Friday, Aug. 30, while the Lions raced in the Bill Chapman Invitational on Aug. 29 at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro.

n In the Night Meet, runners were divided by year in school.

"We had several strong performances, and the kids are excited about how they raced and about the season ahead," Scappoose coach Kevin Pinkstaff said.

The Indians are hoping to make it back to the state meet and improve on their 11th-place showing in 2018, and perhaps even give favorite Wilsonville a run in the Northwest Oregon Conference district meet.

"Wilsonville looks a little stronger than us at the moment, but our guys are hungry and motivated," Pinkstaff said, "and they know if they put in the work this season they have the potential to challenge them when it counts at the end of the season.

"They're bonding really well, and it's great to see them working so hard together in practice."

The top finishers last week for Scappoose were sophomores Rowen Suchoski (eighth in 9:44.90 for 3,000 meters) and Luke Suchoski (13th in 9:57.78).

"They aren't far off where they ended in track with their fitness," Pinkstaff said.

Junior Gage Ekstrom was 43rd in his race in 10:07.90.

"He is already showing he's going to be a great addition to our team," Pinkstaff said.

The gap wasn't great from 1-5 for the Indians, as senior Gustavo Villalvazo placed 54th in his class in 10:11.10, and junior Griffin Barron was 48th in 10:11.23 — both personal bests.

Sophomore Neil Hoffman clocked 11:07.38 to place 75th in 11:07.38, a PR.

"He put in a good race after battling some knee problems this summer," Pinkstaff said.

Scappoose's No. 7 finisher, AJ Degrande, ran 11:14.65 among the seniors.

"I really like the grit and determination he brings," Pinkstaff said.

The Scappoose girls had three runners not far apart, with senior Etosha Lopez running 14:10.91, sophomore Maizri Chandler 14:38.02, and soph Elise Briscoe 15:17.06.

"Tosha ran a minute faster than her time last year, so she is progressing," Pinkstaff said. "Maizri managed the nerves of her first-ever cross-country race well."

n St. Helens senior Waylon Nichols finished ninth in the Chapman varsity 5,000 meters. His time was 17:38.51.

Parkrose senior Ahmed Ibrahim, the defending Northwest Oregon Conference champion, won in 15:20.88, well ahead of a pack of Jesuit Crusaders who took second through fifth. Jesuit senior Sam Curran was second in 17:07.59.

Nichols was four seconds behind another Jesuit runner, junior Aidan Alexander, who placed eighth.

Oregon City senior Max Reed was right behind Nichols in 17:42.98.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Evan Garrison was the second-fastest St. Helens runner as the boys opened their cross-country season last week in the Bill Chapman Invitational.The Lions had four other boys, all seniors, in the top 54 out of 79 runners. Evan Garrison was 37th in 20:23.72, Jakob Nelson took 44th in 20:47.05, Cooper Montgomery was 48th in 20:58.87, and Matthew Reed finished 54th in 22:06.74. Junior Nick Brooks was 64th in 22:58.92.

In the girls varsity 5,000, St. Helens junior Hillary Barley finished 41st out of 60 competitors in 27:13.38. Freshman Kathryn Nelson of the Lions was 57th in 30:51.30.

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