Nelson cross country runners gear up for district

Clackamas Review
Clackamas Review
 2021-10-21 The Hawks compete against some of the state's best at Grant High School on Wednesday.

With the biggest meet of the year just a week ahead, the Nelson cross country teams tested themselves against some of the state's best.

The Hawks ran in the PIL/MHC Crossover meet at Grant High School on Wednesday, Oct. 20, facing off against two other Mt. Hood Conference schools and three from the Portland Interscholastic League.

"With the split of schools, seniors were able to choose to stay at Clackamas (High School) this year so we don't have any seniors on our varsity squads," said Nelson coach Anton Clifford. "I am really proud of some of our individual accomplishments this year, though."

Next up, the Hawks will run in the Mt. Hood Conference district championship at Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview on Thursday, Oct. 28. The top three boys and girls teams at district will qualify for the Class 6A state meet, along with any top-seven finishers from teams that finish outside the top three.

"For both teams, we are at the point in the season where we are getting some wear and tear, so some of my athletes were backing off a bit to stay healthy for the district meet," Clifford said. "(But) this year was always about building the program, building traditions and taking flight, if you will."

Girls meet

In the girls meet, Ida B. Wells raced off with top honors after taking the top four places in the 5-kilometer race and landing all five of its varsity scorers in the top 10. The complete team scoring was: Ida B. Wells 20, Franklin 41, Grant 59, Sandy 127, Adrienne Nelson 142.

Wells senior Charlotte Richman was the day's individual champion with a finishing time of 18 minutes, 4.70 seconds.

For Nelson, the Hawks' best was sophomore Madeline Pizzuti, who placed 30th in the field of 48 runners, finishing with a time of 21:38.20 seconds. She was followed across the finish line by: freshman Nora Simmonds, 35th at 22:25.90; sophomore Lillian McCullough, 40th at 23:45.80; sophomore Madison Browne, 44th at 24:34.10; and junior Lillian Sorensen, 48th at 26:18.10.

The ability to compete with a full team is another marker of progress for the young Nelson program.

"At the beginning of the season, I didn't even know if I was going to be able to field a full team this year, but we have been growing steadily and now have a consistent 18 athletes at most practices," Clifford said.

Boys meet

The Hawks fielded just two runners in the varsity boys meet, which was dominated by Franklin. The Lightning saw senior Charlie North win the race with a time of 16:07.80 and also placed varsity runners in the third through eighth overall places.

The complete team scoring was: Franklin 19, Ida B. Wells 55, Grant 64, Reynolds 115, Sandy 136, Nelson inc.

Sophomore Kai Miles was the Hawks' fastest finisher at Grant, placing 32nd in the field with a time of 18:24.90, while sophomore teammate Joe Yang took 45th with a mark of 21:05.00.

"We have a lot of upcoming talent in our current freshmen and sophomore groups on both teams, and I think we are poised to be pretty competitive next season," Clifford added. "The plus side of not having any varsity seniors is that everyone is back next year."

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