The Nike Portland XC, on Sept. 25, marked the cross country team’s most successful meet this season. The team took first place in two events; the women’s and men’s 3000 meters JV Novice, with multiple athletes placing in the top three individually. During this major cross country meet, 100 teams from around the country battle each other in a variety of events, ranging from three to five kilometers.
Since neither the men’s or women’s varsity team had enough runners to earn an official score, there are no rankings for either team. Despite this, individuals earned their own rankings.
Though the varsity events were less successful for Sandy overall, several athletes still set impressive personal records. Senior Carter Clear ran the 5 kilometer race and set a new PR with a time of 17:36 in 10th place. Sophomore Susan McGaughey also set a record of her own, with a 5k time of 21:33.
Sophomore Blair Mertens placed second in the JV Novice race. “We have good people on our team so I’m overall pretty pleased with our performance, I think it was a very good meet,” Mertens said.
With Mertens taking second and juniors Ethan Robertson and Nick Krempasky taking third and 11th place, it was a solid win for the JV team. The team finished with 43 points, ahead of Gresham with 54 and Churchill with 60. The lowest score wins in cross country.
In addition to the men’s JV Novice race, Sandy also took the lead in the women’s JV category. Junior Aeris Eaton and sophomore Katelyn Hutchinson placed ninth and 10th, with freshman Faith Koester and junior Ellie Nobel not far behind in 15th and 16th. This added up to a combined score of 46 points, just two ahead of Churchill in second place.
Though cross country does count placing towards a team score, it’s still an individual sport. Mertens, eager to finish the race, noted the most challenging part of the event: “That last 200 meters, 300 even. That’s pretty hard in a 3k especially.” The big motivator for him was the competition. “I just wanted to be up there, at least trying to get in the top three. And I wanted to stay there,” Mertens said.