Cougar harriers make school proud with strong championship showing

The Lakewood boys cross country team poses atop the awards podium after running to a victorious first-place finish Saturday, Oct. 21. -
The Lakewood boys cross country team poses atop the awards podium after running to a victorious first-place finish Saturday, Oct. 21.
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LAKEWOOD The weather gods shined upon the Lakewood cross country team Saturday, Oct. 21 as they hosted the Wesco and Cascade Conference championships.
The Cougar harriers, led by six of the top-8 finishers overall, won with 23 points among the seven teams present on the sunny and beautiful autumn day.
The Lady Cougars had five finishers among the top-19 overall en route to their third-place finish among six teams.
Coaches Jeff Sowards and Jon Murray were quick to credit and thank the parent volunteers that helped make the meet run smoothly.
The Wesco and Cascade Conference championship meet featured 25 teams and approximately 1,800 student-athletes.
We get fantastic support, Sowards and Murray said together while cleaning the LHS grounds.
The parents take a lot of pride in the program. We scheduled out about 50 volunteer slots, and didnt hesitate to chip in. We have a lot of great people here.
Senior James Ervin, who was crowned Homecoming king at halftime of the teams football game the night before, edged out freshman Taylor Guske as the two finished second and third place, respectively, overall.
Guske, who led the race at one point, said afterward he may have started out too fast.
I didnt want to beat him and he didnt want to beat me, Guske said of the friendly competition between the teammates.
Our times werent that fantastic, Ervin said with a smile.
One thing both harriers agreed on is that they are looking forward to representing LHS at state.
Ervin finished in a time of 17:15, a mere one-second ahead of Guske.
Co-coaches Sowards and Murray praised the maturity of Co-captain Ervin.
James led like hes been a captain his whole life, they said.
Terrence Ordonez and Trevor Walker ran an identical pace of 5:46 on the 5K (3.1-mile) course to finish in a time of 17:53.
Nick Devier came in a mere three seconds behind at 17:56 to round out the top-5 scoring for the Cougars.
Despite the fact that his eight-place overall finish was not counted toward the team total, Davis Dye rounded out the four Cougar finishers in a row in a time of 18:03.
The Lady Cougars were led by the sixth-place overall finish of Corrine Gogert who was also crowned as Homecoming royalty the night before. She finished in 20:41.
Sarah Dunn came in 11th overall in a time of 20:52 and three of her teammates finished in succession in the 17th-19th overall spots.
Danielle Osti (21:22) led the charge, followed by Chelsea Sowards (21:25) and Lacey Nation (21:44).
The unselfish coaching staff was proud of the school record performance from the Lady Cougars. The top-5 finishers made history with their average finish time of 21:12.
Overall, we feel pretty good, Sowards said. The key thing was not necessarily the fast times, but how they competed. The kids are taking care of each other during the races. Its cool to be a coach. Mike Evans, who started the schools cross country in 1985, used to just say that we are going along for the ride.

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