By Jeremy McDonald
LEBANON, Ore.– For the first time in ten years, Western Christian has a Cross Country team. And did they make some noise on the guys side of the 1A/2A Special District 2 District Meet Thursday afternoon.
With two runners with 6A experience prior to this Spring, Declan Wark with McMinnville and Luke Ellis with McNary as their one/two runners, the Pioneers built some momentum to this moment.
Wark pushed himself against East Linn Christian’s Brandon Williams and Ethan Slayden to the point of exhaustion poat-race. With the Eagles down to two runners for the six-week season, there was going to be a new district winner.
“It was good, I knew what was at stake. We all pushed it, I told them at the end that if they catch me, dinner’s on me,” Wark joked. “So they tried to stick we me. Luke ran great, Samson ran great. Everyone ran great. It was just a fun race to be at.
“I think we did great, especially being the first year back in ten years. Most of these kids never thought they’d run, even the soccer players. Today was just fun to have a team.”
Wark, Samson Hess, Andrew Tish and Ethan Miersma all also double-dip with the boys soccer team at Western Christian. The squad is currently 9-0 entering their league playoff game with Yamhill-Carlton Friday afternoon.
Wark was third and Ellis fifth. But it was a battle for first between themselves and Central Linn for the Title. The Cobras were fourth, sixth and ninth. Hess was eight for Western Christian as it came down to one point to decide the winner.
It swung in favor of the Pios 42 to Central Linn’s 43. Cross Country is like golf, lowest score wins. In his first-year as Head Coach Billy Wark, Declan’s dad, won Coach of The Year honors as they now prepare for the 1A/2A/3A State Meet back in Lebanon next Saturday.
“We did really good. For me not personally the best, but as a team we tried to get first today but I think we did good for some of us who have never raced or have done track before in our lives,” Hess said. “It was pretty intense because we knew East Linn and Central Linn were extremely good. We’ve raced them before and they’ve done great.
“That’s our goal this race, to beat them. It was close, but next time we’ll get them.”
Jefferson’s Simon Oien and Leon Romo finished 11th and 13th respectively. Western Christian’s Andrew Tish was 14th and Regis’ Preston Tinney was 16th.