By Dan Brood | Photos by Dan Brood
Caleb Lakeman doesn’t have to look very hard to find his biggest competition.
The Tualatin junior also doesn’t have to look far to find his biggest inspiration.
That’s because it’s the same person, and that person lives in the same household.
Brothers Caleb and Aaron Lakeman showed how much the competition, inspiration and motivation they provide each other has benefited them both, as they finished first and second in the varsity boys race at the Three Rivers League cross country championships Wednesday at Fernhill Park in Portland.
Caleb Lakeman claimed the league championship with a personal-best time of 16 minutes, 23.19 seconds for the 5,000-meter course. Aaron Lakeman, a Tualatin sophomore, ran to second place in a time of 16:40.84.
“It just kind of displayed the work we put in. All through COVID, we were training a lot with our dad, day in and day out. We just wanted to display how much work we put in, and display our fitness,” Caleb Lakeman said. “We train and basically do everything together, obviously — we’re brothers. We go on runs. We basically do everything together. There’s competition, for sure, every single workout, we’re trying to beat each other. He usually leads in the middle of the workout, but I beat him on the last reps.”
“It’s awesome. We’ve dreamed about this forever,” Aaron Lakeman said. “Like, in elementary and middle school, I’d put up a thing, and it was like, ‘Caleb is going to finish first in the Olympics, and I’m going to finish second.’ I’ve just always thought about being one-two. Running with my brother, and finishing first and second, just means the world.”
With the Lakeman brothers leading the way, the Tualatin boys team came close to claiming the Three Rivers League team title as well. The Timberwolves finished in second place with 65 points. Lakeridge won the team championship with a score of 60.
“We were hoping that we could win, but Lakeridge is so strong,” Aaron Lakeman said.
While the Pacers did show their strength and depth at the district event, it was the Lakeman brothers that took charge right from the start.
The Timberwolves duo took the lead early in the race and ran nearly stride by stride for the first portion of the event. But Caleb Lakeman, the motivated older brother, was able to pull away from his sibling. Seemingly getting stronger as the race went on, Caleb Lakeman was all alone as he neared the end of the race, putting up a “W” with his hands as he crossed the finish line.
“It means a lot,” he said. “Two years ago, when I was just a freshman, I was borderline varsity. I maybe raced two races. Last year, I didn’t make top 10 (at district, where he placed 11th). I was kind of angry and frustrated about that. So, I worked really hard. So, this means a lot to me.”
Aaron Lakeman, who finished 15th at the TRL district meet as a freshman, also was happy with his improvement.
“It went really well. Obviously, I really wanted to beat my brother,” he said. “About the third mile, going up the hill the second time, he was putting a gap on me. I was trying to close it, but I think he has a little bit more strength than me. Obviously, that strength will come, but it was really good. I kept pushing and I felt I had the strength, but I was just a little tired today. But we always want to finish right next to each other. We definitely wanted to finish first and second. That’s a brothers’ dream, finishing right next to each other.”
“This was super fun. It was good to be out there with Aaron,” Caleb Lakeman said. “I just love training with Aaron, even though there is that competitiveness. I’m glad it was him. I wouldn’t want it to be anyone else.”
The bad news for the rest of the Three Rivers League cross country competitors is that the brothers will get another season to work together. And, of course, they get another season to compete against each other.
“It’s 100 percent motivation for next year,” Aaron Lakeman said with a smile. “I’m always trying to beat his time from when he was my age. I try to not think about the age difference. I know it’s a big part, but I always want to beat him, because that pushes me.”
“I’m always trying to beat him. I kind of feel the pressure to stay in front of him,” Caleb Lakeman said. “It’s just that natural competitiveness in both of us.”
Also for Tualatin, senior Jadon Allen ran to ninth place in a time of 17:40.02. Sophomore Jonah Beddes was 18th with a mark of 18:17.60. Junior Ethan Love was 35th at 19:39.49, senior Grady Spencer was 40th at 20:02.02 and junior Dean Horton was 46th at 20:29.79.
Sophomore Luke Loomis led the way for the team-champion Lakeridge squad. He ran to eighth place with a time of 17:39.56. Loomis was followed closely by a swarm of his Pacers teammates.
Lakeridge sophomore Lassen Baertsch Kovalchick placed 10th at 17:44.24. He barely edged Pacers junior Wilson Godfrey, who was 11th at 17:44.27. Also for Lakeridge, junior Maximus Chalpoutis was 15th at 18:00.99, senior Kevin Travers was 16th at 18:14.04 and junior Cooper Wood was 17th at 18:17.48.
Canby finished in third place with 86 points. Junior Tommy O’Neil paced the Cougars, running to sixth place with a time of 17:36.51. Also for Canby, sophomore Maddox Oliver was 12th at 17:51.75 and sophomore Matthew Dewar was 19th at 18:20.52.
Lake Oswego finished in fourth place, three points behind Canby, with a score of 89. Freshman Leo Cook led the way for the Lakers, finishing third at 17:20.21. He used a strong finishing kick to edge his teammate, senior Nate Foster, who was fourth at 17:20.37. Lake Oswego freshman Jackson Rigney was 14th at 18:00.37.
Oregon City was fifth with a score of 97. Junior Christopher Young topped the Pioneers, finishing seventh with a time of 17:39.47. Oregon City junior Eli Dale was 13th at 17:57.14 and senior Johnny Brito was 20th at 18:29.13.
West Linn finished sixth with a total of 109. The Lions were led by senior Jaiden Fishbein, who placed fifth at 17:24.23. Sophomore Kogen Brown was 22nd at 18:50.34 and senior Mick Jordan was 23rd at 18:52.26.
Tigard finished in seventh place with a score of 180. Sophomore Eli Chesler had the top finish for the Tigers, placing 31st at 19:23.20. Tigard junior Joseph Oldham was 33rd at 19:26.70.
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