West Linn boys cross country runs to eighth at 6A state meet
It wasn't a perfect day for the West Linn boys cross country team.
But the Lions — running in the 2018 Class 6A state championship meet at Lane Community College on Saturday — still proved themselves to be one of the state's best.
A year after scoring 209 points and finishing fifth, West Linn came back this year to score 208 points and placed eighth among 21 teams in the 6A boys race.
"Overall, we were hoping for a better placing than the eighth place we earned on the day, but the state is just extremely strong on the boys side this year," said West Linn coach Jay Schrotzberger.
Central Catholic won the boys state championship with 93 points — the Rams tied Jesuit but had the faster sixth finisher — followed by Sunset at 124, Franklin at 145 and South Eugene at 174 in the top five. Rounding out the meet's top 10 were Sherwood at 186, Summit at 205, West Linn at 208, South Medford at 261 and Lincoln at 272.
The Lions were led Saturday by seniors Kenney McElroy and John Wetzsteon, with McElroy placing 14th with a finishing time of 15 minutes, 55 seconds and Wetzsteon taking 20th at 16:07.
"(They) did a great job up near the front of the boys race," Schrotzberger said. "They let the two aggressors from McMinnville (Zane Fodge) and Grants Pass (Daniel Beckstead) go out and get a lead on the rest of the field. They were wise enough to stay back of that early pace and run under more control early on in order to ensure they had a strong final mile.
"Both put in great surges on the final couple of hills in that last mile and made several passes when they got to the final 300 meters on the track."
Also scoring for the Lions' varsity were senior Avery Cook (he placed 56th with a time of 16:38), junior Dash Lipsey (61st at 16:48) and junior Sam Bennett (81st with a 16:58).
"Avery Cook was a little bit under the weather and powered through the race as best as he could," Schrotzberger said. "We were hoping he could stay close to John Wetzsteon, but the illness he was battling took some of that needed strength away from him.
"Dash Lipsey and Sam Bennett both had strong efforts and finished closer together than they had in previous big meets."
Also running varsity for the Lions were seniors Graham Yotsuya (he took 89th with a finishing time of 17:07) and Nate Davidson (he finished 90th at 17:08).
Sunset senior Ethan Reese took the individual title with a winning time of 15:37, followed by Franklin's Aidan Palmer (15:38), Jesuit's Will Sheaffer (15:40), Central Catholic's Ben Brown (15:42) and South Eugene's Ian Twyman (15:43) in the day's top five.
The complete team scores were: Central Catholic 93, Jesuit 93, Sunset 124, Franklin 145, South Eugene 174, Sherwood 186, Summit 205, West Linn 208, South Medford 261, Lincoln 272, Wilson 285, Sheldon 333, Bend 382, Tualatin 384, Aloha 396, South Salem 408, Barlow 411, Clackamas 450, McMinnville 465, Oregon City 508 and Forest Grove 533.