HILLSBORO — It may be a brand new season, but it sure looks like the Sherwood High School cross country teams picked up right where they left off.
In fact, the Bowmen squads may even be ahead of last year's pace.
The Sherwood boys and girls team, which each qualified for the Class 6A state championships a year ago, with the Bowmen boys also winning the Pacific Conference title, opened their 2019 conference schedule by sweeping Century in dominating fashion at a dual meet held Sept. 11 at Century High School.
"It was good," said Sherwood senior Jaron Homer, who ran to second place in the varsity boys race. "It was one of our first races, and we had a lot of teamwork going on."
The Sherwood boys were perfect in their conference-opening win over Century, getting a 15-50 victory over the Jaguars.
"It was really good," Sherwood senior Nate Hicken said. "We were trying to pace our JV guys. We tried to pack up and, in the last mile, whoever felt good would go."
The Bowmen did run as a big pack throughout the race. Hicken, toward the end, pulled away from the pack a bit, and ended up finishing in first place with a time of 17 minutes, 8.99 seconds for the 5,000-meter course.
"It was good to be out at the front of the pack," Hicken said. "We haven't run a lot of races so far. It was good to be at the front of a race."
Hicken is new to the Sherwood team this year, transferring from Valley Catholic, where he helped the Valiants finish in fourth place in last year's Class 4A state meet.
"I went to Valley Catholic, but I live in Sherwood," Hicken said. "I didn't really transfer to Sherwood for the running. I just wanted to be back where a lot of my friends went to school. I started running with the team before the season started, and I kind of meshed right in. It's been really great."
"He trained with us over the summer," Homer said. "He came from Valley Catholic, but we've all grown up with him, and he decided to run with us this year."
Homer finished second in a time of 17:16.74.
"It was one of my first races back from injury and, going out slower than we usually do, I thought I did pretty well today," Homer said. "It was our plan to pace some guys for some faster times, but we always stay as a pack anyway, so that's how it goes."
Sherwood sophomore Jeffery Rogers was right behind Homer, finishing third with a mark of 17:17.27. Also for the Bowmen, junior Ismael Alvares was fourth at 17:21.55, sophomore James Crabtree was fifth at 17:24.36, senior Thomas Osborn was sixth at 17:26.67 and sophomore Liam Cloward was seventh at 17:35.58.
Sherwood, which graduated just one senior from last year's team that finished in sixth place at the Class 6A state meet, has high hopes for the rest of the season.
"We only lost one senior from last year, and I think everyone is a lot better," Homer said. "So our eyes are on a state trophy, possibly a state title, if things go well. We're all getting better every week, and we need to try and stay healthy."
"We're definitely focused on the team this season. We're looking toward state, and even after state," Hicken said. "This was super fun. One of the most fun meets I've had in awhile, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."
The Sherwood girls also had an impressive performance at Century, getting a 16-45 win over the Jaguars. The Lady Bowmen also ran as a big pack throughout most of the race.
"It was great," said Sherwood junior Kari Eddington, who was the winner of the varsity girls race. "We planned to try and stick together for a lot of the race, and work on teamwork. Around Mile 2, we decided to pick it up and try our hardest. It worked really well, I was really excited because we all stayed together, and we were all pushing each other. It just felt like a great race."
Eddington had a winning time of 21:06.10.
"It was just really fun," Eddington said. "I enjoy running with my girls. It's the thing I love, and I wouldn't trade it for anything."
Sherwood junior Brooke Smith was close behind in second place with a time of 21:08.04. Junior Mckenzie Abiley was right behind in third with a mark of 21:09.70.
Also for the Lady Bowmen, senior Vanessa Van Winkle was fourth at 21:26.19, junior Maia Oliver was sixth at 21:43.41, sophomore Ava Grunow was eighth at 22:04.48 and senior Madi Ramos was ninth at 22:20.94.
The Sherwood girls, like the boys, have high hopes for the rest of the season.
"We hope to do well in our league, and hopefully make it to state again. That is our goal," Eddington said. "This was so fun. I love racing with my girls. Everyone is just so positive and fun to run with."
The Sherwood teams will be back in action on Saturday, when they run at the Northwest Classic, which will be held at Lane Community College in Eugene.
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