Tualatin's Payton, Gearin step up at state
Andrew Payton has certainly accomplished a lot during his four years on the Tualatin High School cross country team.
But the Timberwolf senior may very well have saved his best for last.
Payton, the Three Rivers League district champion, competing in his final Class 6A state cross country championships, ran to sixth place in the individual standings at the state meet, held Saturday at Lane Community College.
"Andrew Payton had probably the most impressive race in school history on the biggest stage," Tualatin boys cross country coach Andrew Bonica said.
Meanwhile, the Tualatin girls also had a top-10 finisher, as Timberwolf senior Kaitlyn Gearin ran to 10th place at the Class 6A state meet.
Payton helped the Tualatin boys finish in 13th place in the Class 6A boys team standings with 374 points. Franklin finished in first place in the boys team standings with a score of 62. Jesuit was second with a total of 101.
Payton finished in sixth place in the boys race in a school-record time of 15 minutes, 21.4 seconds for the 5,000-meter race.
"He went out fearlessly against some elite competition, was passed near the end of the race, but fought back with an epic kick to earn first-team All-State recognition and break our school record in a time of 15:21," Bonica said of Payton's performance. "It was an amazing racing effort that showed again the caliber of competitor that he is."
Payton also showed quite an improvement from his performance at the state meet a year ago, when he finished 14th in a time of 15:54.
Also for the Tualatin boys at this year's state meet, sophomore Samuel Roach finished 73rd in a time of 16:26.6, sophomore Dean Horton was 93rd at 16:41.8, freshman Aaron Lakeman was 108th at 16:55.6, sophomore Caleb Lakeman was 123rd at 17:11.7, sophomore Cole Noretto was 126th at 17:14.4 and senior Sam Smith was 137th at 17:28.5.
"This race was a great learning opportunity for the rest of our young team," Bonica said. "We had five underclassmen racing and each of them gained experience for what will help their future which will hopefully feature multiple trips to the state championship."
Franklin senior Aidan Palmer won the Class 6A boys race in a time of 15:04.9. His Franklin teammate, junior Charlie Robertson, finished second in a time of 15:06.6.
For Gearin, this year's race marked her second-straight top-10 performance at the state meet. She finished 10th in this year's event in a time of 17:48.6, an improvement on her mark of 18:13 from a year ago.
Gearin also helped the Tualatin girls finish in eighth place in the team standings with a score of 240. That put the Wolves one place, and 62 points ahead of West Linn, which edged Tualatin for the Three Rivers League district meet title back on Oct. 30.
Sophomore Mahathi Sridhar also had a strong race for the Tualatin girls. She finished in 43rd place with a mark of 19:00.9. Tualatin junior Oliva Seits was close behind, finishing 52nd with a time of 19:23.3.
Also for the Wolves, junior Lily Hughes was 74th at 20:00.9, junior Sierra Kurth was 84th at 20:16.4, senior Taylor Cockrell was 93rd at 20:28.7 and freshman Claire Roach was 112th at 20:55.9.
Tigard freshman Lillian Herman, running at state as an individual, finished in 58th place in a time of 19:34.8.
Summit senior Fiona Max took first place in the Class 6A girls race in a time of 16:51.8. Lincoln freshman Kate Peters was second at 17:01.0.
Summit captured the Class 6A girls team title with a score of 41 points. Jesuit was second at 80.
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