FAIRVIEW -- With more than 100 high schools from several states competing in 17 races, the Nike Portland XC meet -- held Saturday at Blue Lake Regional Park -- is one of the top high school cross country invitationals in the nation.
It’s no wonder that it has become the go-to meet for many Oregon runners.
Lake Oswego junior Kate Peters took advantage of the big stage, winning the girls Danner Championship race in a new personal-record of 16:40.90 to defeat Cherry Creek (Colo.) senior Riley Stewart (16:43.70), the nation’s No. 4-ranked girl by DyeStat. Peters, ranked No. 6, and Stewart were more than 30 seconds ahead of third-place Dalia Frias, a senior at Mira Costa (Calif.).
“I felt really good out there,” Peters said. “I feel like this was my first big meet of the year and it went great, so I am very happy with it. I was very excited to come away with a win today.”
Peters is happy to be back training with her team after the interruptions caused by COVID during the past year.
“My training is going really great,” Peters said. “I love training with my team. It’s really fun to train with some of the boys and be able to workout with a group of people again.”
Peters had planned to try to qualify again for Nike Cross Nationals, where she finished ninth as a freshman in 2019, but the meet was canceled last week for a second consecutive year.
Peters is still focused on running in a national championship race at the end of the season, it just won’t be close to home in Portland at NXN.
“Now, all eyes are on Foot Locker,” Peters said. “It doesn’t change much, just a different location and not Nike sponsored.”
The Foot Locker West regionals will be held in Walnut, Calif., on Dec. 4 and the national championships will be held Dec. 11 in San Diego.
In a battle of nationally ranked teams, No. 2 ranked Cherry Creek got the win over No. 3 Summit, 69-82, with seven runners in front of the Storm’s fifth. Mira Costa had three of the top seven to finish third with 83 points. Summit was led by seniors Teaghan Knox (fourth in 17:35.30) and Maggie Williams (ninth in 17:49.50).
Other top Oregon finishers included; Sunset junior Paige Wiley (11th in 17:54.10), Wells senior Charlotte Richman (13th in 17:56.40), Summit junior Ella Thorsett (14th in 17:59.70), Sherwood senior Nancy Biegel (15th in 19:03.40), Summit junior Barrett Justema (17th in 18:08.70) and Crescent Valley freshman Emily Wisnieski (18th in 18:12.60).
In the boys Danner race, the Sherwood duo of seniors Jeffery Rogers and James Crabtree paced Oregon runners with second and third place finishes. Riverside (Wash.) senior Jamar Distel won impressively in 14:47.80, well clear of Rogers (14:59.10) and Crabtree (15:01.50).
Oregon had eight of the top 10 finishers; Tualatin senior Caleb Lakeman (fifth in 15:07.60), Sheldon senior Ben Collins (sixth in 15:09.90), Milwaukie junior Logan Law (seventh in 15:11.60), South Medford senior Michael Maiorano (eighth in 15:11.60), Sunset senior Benjamin Balazs (ninth in 15:11.90) and Crescent Valley senior Henry Coughlin (10th in 15:29.10).
Mira Costa won the boys team title with 96 points, ahead of Sunset (131) and Sheldon (157).
In the girls Division I race, Newberg senior Breanna Schmitt ran to victory in 18:46.50, while Cherry Creek and Summit showed off their depth, finishing first and second in the team race with their second teams.
Columbia River (Wash.) senior Daniel Barna won the boys DI race in 15:34.20, ahead of Newberg junior Zachary Giesch in 15:54.50.
In the D2 girls race, Lincoln sophomore Keira Saavedra (19:01.50) led teammate junior Eva Novy-Hildesley (19:14.90) to a 1-2 finish to lead five Cardinals runners in the top 13 places to take the team title with 36 points. Siuslaw senior Rylee Colton was third in 19:50.80.
“Rylee is a sleeping giant,” Siuslaw coach Chris Johnson said. “She is getting better and better every day. She’s running way faster than she ran last year when she was fifth in our state meet.”
Colton was 14th at the mile mark and moved up steadily throughout the race.
“She moved up really well,” Johnson said. “I think she can still run faster and today was a good confidence builder for her. She is doing a great job of being a leader for our other girls, who are super young.”
The Siuslaw girls finished 10th and were the top 4A team from Oregon.
The boys D2 race saw the closest finish of the day as Siuslaw junior Samuel Ulrich and Lake Oswego sophomore Leo Cook were credited with the same time, 16:08.80.
“I thought I had it,” Cook said. “I felt like nobody else looked like they were fresh. I felt pretty good coming to that final straight and then somebody else brought it home.”
Ulrich won the photo finish and was credited with the victory, leading the 4A Vikings to the team title over 6A Mountainside, 93-111.
“I was just like stay with them, stay with them, don’t lose them and see what happens,” Ulrich said.
“Sam is such a talented kid,” Johnson said. “This year he just realized that talent is one thing but if you want to go out there and put out great times and contend for state championships you have to do the extra. In the last couple weeks he has flipped the switch.”
Siuslaw senior Chad Hughes (sixth in 16:40.40) and junior Kyle Hughes (11th in 16:47.30) helped the Vikings to the team title. It was a very impressive win in a 23-team field of mostly bigger schools.
“The boys team is strong,” Johnson said. “We just come to these meets looking for competition, regardless of what the school is. This is fun, because you can put your kids in situations where there will be individuals right around them.
“This is a team that could be an elite team in our classification. We are really deep, four through seven.”
Roosevelt freshman Mira Danish got the win in the girls D3 race in 19:17.00. McKay senior Sydney Haines was second in 19:19.10 and Cleveland junior Iris Stasiuk was third in 19:24.50. Medical Lake (Wash.) won the team title over Cleveland, 56-112.
Scappoose senior Rowen Suchoski got a convincing win in the boys D3 race in 16:18.20, ahead of Medical Lake junior Reid Headrick in 16:39.80. Medical Lake won the team title over South Salem, 79-106.
Also last week:
Champs Invite, at Cheadle Lake Park, Friday
Girls -- Catlin Gabel junior Megan Cover ran to a convincing win in 19:53.46 and Bandon placed its top five runners in the top 27 overall to win the team title. The Tigers were led by seniors Aunika Miller (fourth in 21:09.83) and Holly Hutton (fifth in 21:13.92).
Team Scores (Top four): Bandon 46, Vernonia 85, St. Stephen’s Academy 116, Pleasant Hill 141.
Boys - Bandon boys completed the invitational sweep, placing three runners in the top seven overall. St. Stephen’s Academy senior Colin Friend got the victory in 16:17.41, ahead of Westside Christian senior David Dugan (16:28.15).
Team Scores (Top four): Bandon 47, Westside Christian 94, Country Christian 146, Vernonia 146.