Originally posted on The Nugget News, September 27, 2016
by: Charlie Kanzig
Invite strong cross-country teams from throughout the western U.S. to a flat, fast course, and quick times are a likely result. Such was the case for many of the Outlaws runners at last Saturday’s Nike Portland XC meet.
The meet attracted more than 100 teams to compete in four different high school varsity divisions showing that the sport of cross-country may be more popular than any time in history. Nearly 4,000 runners completed races at the meet.
The Outlaws competed in Division 2 in order to give the girls team a real test as the season enters its second month and things begin to get more focused toward the District and State meets, which come up in late October and early November.
Anna Bartlett and Sophie Borders led the team through the first half of the race, but Bartlett pulled away in the second half to come through as the first finisher for Sisters in 18th place among 165 finishers. Her time of 20:26 established a career-best for the junior.
Borders ran a season-best of 20:49 for 33rd place, while Tate Ricker cracked the 22-minute mark with a time of 21:56 for 76th place. Engracia Diez (22:35) and Molly Winter (23:05) completed the scoring for the Outlaws team, which finished 10th among 24 teams in the division.
Northwest High School of Seattle won the team race after putting three girls in the top 10. Malia Pivec of Lynnwood (WA) won the race in a fine time of 18:28.
The team hopes to be back to full strength in the coming weeks with the return of Amy Hills, Serena Salisbury, and Zidane Galant-Laporte, who missed the meet due to illness, injury, and scheduling conflicts.
“It was a good test for the team and they responded well,” said Head Coach Josh Nordell. “We have more work to do of course, but I am feeling good about our progress.”
The boys team was overmatched in Division 2, but the quality of the runners in the race resulted in good times for much of the squad.
Jordan Pollard kept contact with the lead pack through two miles before fading a bit in the last 1,000 meters, but still ran a career-best of 16:43 to finish in 16th place. Freshman Josh Liddell ran a solid race to also establish a personal record with a time of 18:07. Cole Pade, battling chronic shin splints, gutted out the race in 18:31 which was his best ever, while fellow junior Peyton Myhre flirted with going under 20 minutes with a time of 20:13.
Andrew Stevens (21:00), Jack Berg (21:13), and Jackson Bowe (21:26) also competed for the Outlaws, which ended up in 24th place among the 25 teams.
“Even though we should have probably run in a different division, the boys ran tough and got the experience of being in a fast field of teams,” said Nordell. “I am satisfied with how they competed.”
Medical Lake High School of Spokane (WA) won the Division 2 team title, and Caleb Olson of Hanford High School (WA) captured individual honors with a time of 16:11.
The Outlaws are scheduled to compete Friday, September 30, at the Oxford Classic at Drake Park, which is hosted by Bend High School. The meet, which begins at 1 p.m. and includes 29 teams, is very spectator-friendly. Teams from Idaho, California, and Oregon are entered including 4A teams Henley, Klamath Union, Valley Catholic, Crook County and Sisters.
“It’s good to have another meet in our area so more of our parents can come and watch,” said Nordell. “Bend High always puts on a good meet.”