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Top 10 finishes from Anthony and Zachary Giesch lead Tigers in a crowded field.

If the Meriwether Cross Country Classic is any indicator, the Newberg boys have a bright season ahead of them to look forward to.

Led by Anthony and Zachary Giesch, the Tigers placed third in the 32-team field on Friday, behind meet winner Central Catholic and runner-up Sunset. More importantly, Newberg finished ahead of league rivals Sherwood and McMinnville in an early indicator of how the three powers in the Pacific Conference could fare at the end of the season.

Last year's return to Meriwether National Golf Club after a two-year absence saw Sherwood place second, followed by McMinnville in third, with Newberg just behind at fifth. Five weeks later, the three teams finished in the same one-two-three order at the conference championship. It was the fourth league championship in five years for the Bowmen, whose streak was interrupted in the shortened 2020 season when the Tigers wrested the title for their own.

Two years later, Newberg is looking to take back the conference crown and the Giesch brothers are leading the charge.

Anthony Giesch finished fourth in the 200-plus field of competitors with a time of 15:26.00, one of many personal records set on the flat, fast golf course grounds. Zachary Giesch was just behind in eighth with a time of 15:29.60. The pair were coming off their first 5K of the season a week prior in a head-to-head match against McMinville, where they placed first and second and Newberg had four of the first five runners across the finish line.

At Meriwether, they were followed shortly by junior teammate Caden Smith, whose 21st-place finish in 16:21.60 was an improvement of more than a minute over his previous best set at the golf course last year. Senior Zoltan Eszenyi likewise set a PR of 16:45.70 in a 33rd-place effort. Sophomore Arran Kay rounded out the team's scoring in 104th with a time of 17:50.10, an improvement of more than five minutes from his time on the course last year.

The Newberg girls placed 20th overall, led by senior Dominique Eszenyi with a PR-time of 20:48.80 in a 56th-place finish.

Next up for the Tigers is a three-team race at Glencoe on Sept. 28 against the hosting Crimson Tide and Century, followed by the Champoeg Invitational on Oct. 1.

Silver Falls Invitational

The North Marion, Gervais, Kennedy and St. Paul cross country teams sent representatives to compete in the annual Oktoberfest race held at Silver Falls State Park on Wednesday.

Junior Kenley Doubrava led the Huskies with a 25th-place finish in 23:05.00, improving her previous PR by nearly 20 seconds in a strong showing to open the season.

Junior teammate Emersyn Alvord finished close behind with a 29th place time of 23:41.60 followed by sophomore Kaiden Russell in 51st (25:15.70).

For the boys team, junior Eli Gonzalez placed 38th in the field with a time of 19:31.00 in his 2022 season debut, followed by sophomore teammate Peter Crosby with a PR-time of 21:06.00 to finish 59th.

The Kennedy girls placed fourth overall in the eight-team field, led by sophomore Yulissa Chavez Cortes with a 10th-place time of 22:14.20. Junior Jeremiah Traeger led the boys team with a time of 20:04.50 to place 43rd.

The St. Paul boys were paced by senior Mason Cacka, who placed 70th with a time of 21:46.80. Junior Ariana Campos led the girls with a time of 18:40.40 in the JV race.

Gervais was led by junior Joshua Santos in the JV race with an 18th-place time of 13:58.80, followed by junior Isaiah Martushev in 22nd (14:09.00). Junior Gloria Valdovinos was 45th in the JV race in 18:43.40 for the Cougars girls team.

North Marion has a 10-day layoff before returning to the field on Sept. 24 at the Cottage Grove Bramble Scramble. The Trojans travel to the coast for the Three Course Challenge at Camp Rilea in Warrenton on Sept. 24.

St. Paul and Gervais will next compete on Sept. 23 at the Champs Invite held at Cheadle Lake Park.

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