Viking boys take Nike team title in PDX


Video review was required to determine the winner of the Division 2 boys race at the Nike XC Invitational on Sept. 25. Siuslaw's Sam Ulrich beat Lake Oswego's Leo Cook by the slimmest of margins.

Sam Ulrich wins in photo finish, Rylee Colton third for girls

Sept. 28, 2021 — Both Siuslaw cross country teams had an impressive showing on Sept. 25 at the Nike XC Invitational at Blue Lake Regional Park near Fairview.

The Viking boys cross country team ran a great race. Siuslaw took the Division 2 boys team title and junior Sam Ulrich won the Division 2 race in a thrilling victory over Lake Oswego’s Leo Cook.

Those observing the end of the race were unable to see who actually won. Race officials were forced to check the video of the finish after both Ulrich and Cook crossed the line at what appeared to be the exact same time of 16:08.80. After careful review, the Viking runner was named the winner. 

“I was thinking stay with him (Cook), don’t lose him and just see what happens,” said Ulrich. “I realized how fast we were going after the second mile and when I realized I was in second I figured, why not try and get the lead?”

The win by Ulrich was a bit of an upset, not only because of the stiff competition he faced from all over the state, but also with his competitors on his own team.

This was the first race this year Ulrich had beaten his teammate, senior Chad Hughes. Hughes ran an amazing race also, finishing just behind his teammate in sixth place with a time of 16:40.40.

Next was junior Kyle Hughes at 16:47.30 in 11th, followed by sophomores Dylan Jensen (17:45.10), Talen Ross (17:49.40) and Brayden Linton (19:05.10).

“The boys team is strong,” Viking Coach Chris Johnson said. “We just come to these meets looking for competition, regardless of what the school is. This is fun, because you can put your kids in situations where there will be individuals right around them. This is a team that could be an elite team in our classification. We are really deep.”

Also an upset, was the Siuslaw boys team win. The Vikings beat out many much larger schools from all over Oregon and the Western United States. Siuslaw’s entire enrollment is less than most single grades for the teams that finished directly behind champion Siuslaw. The Vikings (enrollment 390, team points 93) were followed by Mountainside, of Beaverton (1835, 111), Cedarcrest of Duval, Wash., (1001, 157), Cleveland of Portland (1680, 169) and Warren of Downy, Calif., (3592, 224).

The Viking girls also beat out many much larger schools to finish 10th in the Division 2 race. Lincoln, of Portland, was the winner.

Senior Viking runner Rylee Colton was only beaten by two runners from Lincoln and finished third with a time of 19:15.80. Sophomore Jane Lacouture was 47th with a time of 21:44.60, followed by freshman Maya Wells (22:00.40), sophomore Corduroy Holbrook (22:45.30) and freshman Macy McNeill (23:17.90).

“Rylee is a sleeping giant,” Johnson said. “She is getting better and better every day. She’s running way faster than she ran last year when she was fifth in our state meet. … She moved up really well. I think she can still run faster and today was a good confidence builder for her. She is doing a great job of being a leader for our other girls, who are super young.”

Siuslaw is at home for a race this coming weekend when the Vikings run the Woahink Lake XC Invitational. The course covers the east side of Woahink Lake and parts of Honeyman State Park. First race begins at 11:45 a.m.