West Linn boys run away with Three Rivers district cross country title
West Linn had been looking forward to this one all year.
The Lion boys cross country team — running in the Three Rivers League district meet at Clackamas Community College on Wednesday — made it worth the wait, landing all five of their scorers within the day's top 10 and winning the team title with 30 points. Second-place Oregon City finished well back at 84, while third-place Tualatin ended up with 88 points.
The rest of the team scoring was Canby at 89, Lakeridge at 112, Tigard at 126 and Lake Oswego at 196.
"I think we had four or five guys in the top 10 and everybody went out and raced really hard," said West Linn senior John Wetzsteon, who finished third overall with a time of 16 minutes, 18.06 seconds. "I'm really proud of them."
In addition to their first-place team finish, Lion senior Kenney McElroy made a good run at taking first place among the day's 48 runners, leading much of the race before eventually settling for second place at 15:59.10. Tualatin junior Andrew Payton won the meet with a mark of 15:56.28.
"I was focused on Payton, but he's an incredible competitor and he has a kick like I've never seen," McElroy said. "It was a good race, good competition."
Following McElroy and Wetzsteon's stellar finishes, senior Avery Cook took sixth at 16:28.42, junior Dash Lipsey grabbed ninth with a time of 16:44.38 and senior Graham Yotsuya placed 10th at 16:44.72 to round out the team's scorers.
"The team was in a group for a while. We tried to stick together and push each other because we're all pretty close in time," McElroy said. "We tried to stick together as a pack. We train together and we race as hard as we can."
"I told them before the race, 'Keep your mind in the race. Stay focused,'" Wetzsteon said. "We've been working so hard for this all year and we deserve this."
Also running for the West Linn varsity were junior Sam Bennett (11th at 16:48.07) and senior Nate Davidson (16th at 17:00.09).
Next up, the Lions will run in the Class 6A state meet, set for 3:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at Lane Community College in Eugene.
"There's about five or six teams that are so close," Wetzsteon said. "I definitely think we can be top four if we come out and run hard, and maybe top three — second or third — that's our goal."
"It's going to be 'on' at state," McElroy said. "There will be some good competition there. The time to do it is now."
In addition to the teams from West Linn, Oregon City and Tualatin, Canby senior Cole Thomas (fifth at 16:25.27) and Lakeridge senior Evan Wheeler (seventh at 16:34.40) also qualified for state as individuals.