Longtime bond between Wilsonville and Milwaukie seniors adds to the competitive fire.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Wilsonville senior Carter Cutting (6707) and Milwaukie senior Logan Law (6658) race during a league meet at Lents Park on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Portland.

Carter Cutting and Logan Law aren't brothers, but they've developed a sort of sibling rivalry out on the cross country courses.

The two high school seniors — Cutting at Wilsonville High School and Law at Milwaukie High — have been friends for most of their lives. Now, they are competing against each other for a 5A state title.

A competitive fire burns between the two runners, but friendship acts as the fuel behind it.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Milwaukie senior Logan Law is all smiles as he prepares for a race Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Lents Park in Portland."I wouldn't even call it a rivalry," said Law after a league meet at Lents Park in Portland on Wednesday, Sept. 21. "We're so close, and we're such good friends."

Law took silver in the race, finishing two seconds behind Cutting, who won the boys meet in a time of 15 minutes, 49.5 seconds.

"Today, I was going to go and run 17 minutes, but I ended up running (15:51.5)," said Law of the race in Lents Park. There were no real stakes in the race — Cutting called it "just a workout" — but Law picked up the pace when he saw his friend running a faster time.

"That's just how competitive we are," Law added. "We've known each other forever, and it's always been like that. It's like a brotherhood.

"Brothers are always going at it, but they're still brothers."

Cutting corroborates the story, explaining that he and Law having been racing since they were just tykes.

"We've been pretty much best friends since fourth grade," Cutting said. "We've been racing together since youth track when we were like 4-foot-5. We were pretty small.

"We've been friends forever, so it's always a joy to compete and race with him."

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Wilsonville senior Carter Cutting (front) won a league meet at Lents Park on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Portland.Those two haven't been racing together for the past two years, though. When the pandemic hit in 2020 and shut down high school sports in Oregon, Cutting and his family moved from Wilsonville to Draper, Utah, where he competed for Corner Canyon High School.

As a junior, Cutting placed 11th at districts and qualified for the UHSAA Class 6A State Championships, where he took 55th overall. Now back in Wilsonville, the senior says his two-year trip to Utah helped him hone his craft.

"I got to have a great time in Utah for the last couple years," Cutting said. "The benefit of being at altitude is a huge plus. The guys there are just phenomenal runners, as well. I had a great coach, a great team. It really helped me improve my running."

Since returning, Cutting has teamed up to train with fellow Wilsonville senior Mason Weisgerber, who is a standout in his own right. Weisgerber placed second behind Law at last year's Northwest Oregon Conference Championships, and he came in third behind Cutting and Law at Lents Park on Wednesday.

Weisgerber's skill as a runner is just another factor helping to propel Cutting toward a potential run at the 5A state title in 2022.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Wilsonville seniors Carter Cutting (6707) and Mason Weisgerber (6708) lead Milwaukie senior Logan Law (6658) during a cross country race at Lents Park on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Portland.

"I've got a really good training partner in Mason, and I love my coach (David Barkley)," Cutting said. "The atmosphere at Wilsonville is great."

Of course, Law will be right next to Cutting as they chase through a pack of talented runners from down in the southern part of the state.

Last season, Law parlayed his NWOC district title into a fifth-place finish at state. Being able to train against Cutting during the league season could pay off when it comes time to race at Lane Community College in Eugene.

"It helps me going into state when I have to race against Tyrone (Gorze) and Josiah (Tostenson) and all those fast guys from Crater and around Southern Oregon," said Law of running against Cutting during the run-up to the state championships.

As for how they've fared against each other so far this year, Cutting has the slight edge with the win at Lents Park. In their first race, the NWOC Preview on Sept. 7, Law and Cutting finished in a dead heat for first.

"I wouldn't say I won or he won," said Law of the season-opening 5K race. "We both crossed at the same time."

Regardless of who wins these early tune-ups, conventional wisdom in cross country dictates that only two days truly matter: districts and state.

With Cutting and Law being virtual locks to qualify through at the NWOC Championships, their final high school season really just boils down to the first Saturday in November.

"The biggest thing for me is that I have to go into the (state championship) race knowing it's going to be the hardest race of my life," Law said. "It's going to be hard, but if I just give it my all and race as hard as I can … on a good day, I think I can come out on top."

Next to his good buddy Law, Cutting will be just as confident in his own abilities.

If all goes to plan, these longtime friends could push each other to another photo finish at the state championships.

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