At mid-season of the cross-country season the Sisters boys team finds itself ranked among the top three squads among 4A schools. They bolstered that standing after a strong showing at the Nike Portland XC meet held at Blue Lake Regional Park near Gresham on Saturday, September 28.

Votes in last week’s coaches’ poll placed the Outlaws fourth in the state behind Siuslaw, Marist Catholic and Oregon West rival, Newport. Philomath, also in the Oregon West League is ranked fifth.

“Our league is tough and sadly, the way qualification works, only two teams from our league will even run at the state meet,” said Coach Josh Nordell.

Which means the Outlaws have their work cut out for them, but they are in good position with a crew of five juniors, one senior and a freshman.

The squad split up a bit at the Nike race as John Peckham and Will Thorsett, ranked second and fourth overall for 5,000 meters among 4A runners this season, opted to run in the elite Danner Championship section of the meet, while the

rest of the team ran in Division 2.

“Splitting up actually worked out great since the two boys got to experience running with some of the best runners in the Northwest at any level, while six others got to work on grouping together,” said Nordell.

Peckham and Thorsett ended up in the top 25 percent of the field with times of 16:29 and 16:35 respectively on the crowded, muddy course. The pair were the only runners in the race from a school division smaller than 5A.

“It wasn’t a day for personal records, but it did give the boys a sense of championship-level racing,” said Nordell.

Isaiah Galindo of Clovis North HS (California) won the race in 15:19.5.

In the Division 2 race the boys accomplished the goal of running closer together, and many succeeded in setting season or personal bests in the process, despite the mud.

Ethan Hosang led the charge with a time of 17:17, which placed him 35th among 272 finishers. He was followed by Josh Liddell (17:41), Sam May (17:54), Vicente Rebolledo (17:56), Max Palanuk (18:27) and Kalden Gilbert (20:01).

Even without their two top runners, Sisters managed to place 14th among 39 complete teams in the division.

“These guys are figuring out what it will take for us to be our best, and are working really well together,” said Nordell.

The team will toe the line as one unit on Friday in Drake Park in Bend for the annual Oxford Classic, hosted by Bend High. The race will give the Outlaws a look at some of the 4A schools including Klamath Union, Valley Catholic, and Cottage Grove, as well as the Bend and Redmond schools, among others.

“We want to see how well we match up with some of our bigger Central Oregon neighbors,” said Nordell. “The course is a bit slow, but our goal will be to race whoever is around us regardless of classification.”

Races begin at 1 p.m. with a junior varsity girls race. Varsity girls race at 2 p.m. followed by varsity boys at 2:30 p.m.