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Prep boys cross-country: 1-2 finish gives Raiders district title

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Prep boys cross-country: Justice Lamer, Gabe Schoenfeld

Crescent Valley's Justice Lamer (125) leads a pack of runners, including Corvallis’ Gabe Schoenfeld (78), through a muddy section of the course while on his way to taking first place in the boys’ district cross-country meet at Crystal Lake Sports Park on Wednesday afternoon. (Amanda Cowan | Corvallis Gazette-Times)

Justice Lamer was pleasantly surprised to find Crescent Valley teammate Matthew McGowen not far behind him at the finish line of the Mid-Willamette Conference boys cross-county district race Wednesday afternoon.

Lamer knew McGowen was capable of being there, having ran fast times this season.

But McGowen was running against a strong pack of other experienced runners, any of which could have a strong day and come away with a runner-up finish behind Lamer, the favorite going into the race.

Still the Raiders pulled it off, helping them defeat rival Corvallis for the team title on a wet 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course in the pouring rain at Crystal Lake Sports Park.

“Matt had a great race just a week ago and we’ve kind of been waiting for that 5K power to come in for him,” CV coach Tyler Bushnell said. “We felt with the chase pack back of Justice, if he could just hang there and run relaxed he could kick with about 800 out and get that second spot.

“To see it play out like that, I love it. That’s the dream.”

The Raiders won the team title after finishing fifth in 2013 and having no state qualifiers.

CV had 52 points to corvallis’ 59. Silverton was third with 69.

The top three teams and seven individuals advance to the 5A state meet Nov. 1 at Lane Community College in Eugene.

Lamer pulled away for the win in 16 minutes, 9 seconds. McGowen ran a personal-best 16:24.

“I feel like I just had a really good mental race, honestly,” said McGowen, who is also playing soccer at CV this fall. “Because it wasn’t like I was telling myself I couldn’t do it. I just kind of shifted from thinking ‘don’t lose’ to thinking ‘win this thing.’ I just sighted Justice’s back and fought.”

Lamer, whose 15:08 PR is second-best in 5A this season, ran at the front of a large pack for the first mile and then began to create some room on the rest.

“I just told myself to keep pushing my pace, and I knew that I would eventually gain more ground on those guys,” he said.

CV’s Duncan Robertson set an eight-second personal best to take 14th in 17:37.

The Raiders had their fourth, fifth and sixth runners across the line before the Spartans had their fifth, helping CV to the championship. A school’s top five make up a team score.

Carson Denison (17th, 17:42), Joe Kim (18th, 17:44) and Nicholas Turkisher (19th, 17:46) were CV’s 4-5-6.

Ellis Roper led the Spartans in fourth in 16:36.

Gabe Schoenfeld (sixth, 16:54), Brian Cebra (12th, 17:27), Doug Burris (13th, 17:36) and Ian Vickstrom (24th, 17:59) rounded out the team score.

“We didn’t come to race, and if you don’t come here to race that’s what you get,” Corvallis coach Mark Hulburt said of his team’s finish.

Even so, the Spartans qualified for the state meet for a third straight season.

Roper said he was proud of his team and that it worked hard.

“I feel like I wasn’t really recovering from the workouts as well. Something just felt a little off,” he said. “I didn’t think we tapered exactly how I wanted to but at state I think we’ll be find.”

MWC Boys District Meet

Team scoring: Crescent Valley 52, Corvallis 59, Silverton 69, South Albany 95, Woodburn 126, Lebanon 147, Dallas 157, Central 197

Top seven individuals: 1. Justice Lamer, Crescent Valley, 16:09; 2. Matthew McGowen, Crescent Valley, 16:24; 3. Marcus Corbett, Lebanon, 16:32; 4. Ellis Roper, Corvallis, 16:36; 5. Robbie LeParc, Silverton, 16:39; 7. Julio Olmos, Woodburn, 17:06

Crescent Valley runners: 1. Justice Lamer 16:09; 2. Matthew McGowen 16:24; 14. Duncan Robertson 17:37; 17. Carson Denison 17:42; 18. Joe Kim 17:44; 19. Nicholas Turkisher 17:46; 33. Levi Atkinson 18:14

Corvallis runners: 4. Ellis Roper 16:36; 6. Gabe Schoenfeld 16:54; 12. Brian Cebra 17:27; 13. Doug Burris 17:36; 24. Ian Vickstrom 17:59; 30. Paul Bomber 18:04; 31. Jesse Marley 18:07

Sports reporter Jesse Sowa can be reached at 541-758-9565 or jesse.sowa@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSowaGT

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