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The Wilsonville senior finished third in the senior race. Burns placed third in junior race.

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Samantha Prusse runs in the senior race at the Wilsonville Night Meet last Friday.

After spending two weeks in Costa Rica and getting off her training schedule, Samantha Prusse was not sure how she would perform in her final Wilsonville Night Meet.

"I was super nervous and kind of reluctant to race," Prusse said last Friday.

The Wilsonville senior had nothing to worry about as she placed third in the senior girls race, finishing the 3K in 10 minutes and 36.17 seconds.

"I felt really strong, more than I was thinking," said Prusse. "It feels really good to have a nice ending, and not thinking I could have done better. I'm happy. It's a fun race."

Prusse's time, a PR at the Night Meet, was 18 seconds faster than last year's event when she placed sixth in the junior race.

Wilsonville cross country coach David Barkley thought Prusse ran a smart race.

"It was a really good run," he said. "A conservative start for her and she moved quite well up the field. She isn't race sharp yet, but shouldn't be race sharp yet. She is stronger than last year and is more patient in her approach to the season. It is a joy to watch her race."

Wilsonville ran against three of the top five girls teams in Class 5A, including 2018 state champion Hood River Valley.

"The girls ran very well in a loaded race," Barkley said. "We were closer to them than I thought we would be right now."

Junior Sydney Burns posted the Wildcats second fastest time, placing eighth in the junior race in 11:22.

Gabriella Prusse finished 15th in the sophomore race in 11:39.6 and Fiona Dunn took ninth in the freshman race in 12:00.1.

Sarah Somerscales (12:04.8), Aurora Barkley (12:30.2) and Alexis Hagler (12:35) rounded out Wilsonville's top seven to claim a varsity spot at the upcoming NWOC Preview on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Kiera Bertell (12:43.6), Kylee Rusher (12:47.6) and Peyton Timm (12:55.2) were not far behind.

"Those three would be top five at any other school in the NWOC," Barkley noted.

Wilsonville's boys were led by a pair of underclassmen.

Ben McClelland finished sixth in the sophomore race in 9:43.3 and Mason Weisgerber took third in the freshman race in 9:43.6.

"The boys ran quite well," Barkley said. "We have really nice depth from our underclassmen."

Junior Sebastian Pinger (9:51.9), sophomore Jacob McClelland (9:53.6) and freshman Nathan Wilde (10:06.2) rounded out the Wildcats top five. Juniors Josh Aguilar (10:12.9) and Andrew Worth (10:16.7) were sixth and seventh.

"The juniors and seniors really have helped teach the younger runners good habits this fall," Barkley said. "I learned that we have a lot of kids who run well when the gun goes off."

The NWOC Preview is at Blue Lake Park in Gresham. Wilsonville's girls and boys both won the NWOC last season.

"NWOC will be very good on the boys side," Barkley said. "Scappoose and Parkrose are well-coached and talented. We will need to do our details right to compete with them. On the girls side it seems that LaSalle and Putnam may be the closest challengers. But that may change as more teams run their first races of the year."

Derek Wiley
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