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The Battle for District Supremacy Begins at the XO Invite
4/11/06 - - by Nathan Senner

EUGENE - 4/11/06 - It’s early April and the high school track season is just beginning to heat up. A couple of small meets have been run, some freshman have begun trying to prove themselves in a new and bigger setting, some juniors and seniors have been showing that they can fill the shoes of the stars who graduated last year, and everyone is wondering who is going to win their district title. At this point the questions outnumber the answers as many teams and big-name athletes have yet to race this year, but rest assured, some answers will start surfacing soon. Real soon in fact: this coming Saturday, April 15th, at Hayward Field, the XO Invite will showcase over 40 of the state’s top teams and around 1300 individuals, offering a great early season glimpse at just who is in shape and who spent the winter watching television and eating too many Krispy Kremes.

The XO Invite won’t just provide a window into the battle for the state titles, but also for the bragging rights that come with the district titles. Several districts are sending a host of teams to this year’s meet, including five schools each from the Metro, Midwestern, Mt. Hood, and Valley districts. Rivalries are bred on familiarity and with how well some of these schools know each other and how closely their districts are contested, Hayward Field may be burning up with more than just fast times and long throws.

The Midwestern District showcases possibly the closest battle for a boy’s district title in the state. Last year the South Eugene boys edged out Sheldon for the district title by just six points. This year things look to be just as tight. None of South Eugene’s and only one of Sheldon’s state championship finalists return from last year, while Springfield returns its multi-event state qualifier Roosevelt Roby and Churchill returns its state champion high jumper Tyler Poppe. And if that weren’t enough, traditionally dominant South Eugene only won last fall’s district cross-country meet by five points. Whoever comes out on top at the XO Invite may just be able to carry that momentum through to the district meet.

If you’re looking for a team with the desire to turn things around, look no further than Sandy high school. They’ve got six state finalists returning from last year’s team that tied for fifth at the state meet, but that was their highest finish there since 1997; ancient history for most of this year’s high school class. And who tied them for fifth last year? None other than their Mt. Hood Conference rival, Gresham. Throw in the mix David Douglas and Central Catholic who tied for 15th place and Barlow and St. Mary’s who have fielded some hungry teams and you’ve got quite a race for the top.

Across the city in the Metro League, the battle is looking similar, with no clear favorite declaring itself yet. Jesuit won last year’s district meet, but Aloha and Sunset both finished higher at state and Southridge was right behind Jesuit in 32nd place. This year it is anyone’s guess. As Aloha coach Tim Tank told, “There are a lot of very strong teams. A lot of teams have a lot of people coming back. Look for Jesuit, Beaverton, Sunset and Southridge. They're all very good.”

Ultimately, of course, only time will tell which teams are victorious this year, but one message is clear: the road to these district titles runs straight through the XO Invite and the answer of who has the best co-ed team will be known in 4 days. Who knows, maybe in a few years a few of these match-ups will have joined the pantheon of other great sports rivalries. Cowboys-Redskins. Yankees-Red Sox. Seb Coe-Steve Ovett. Frazier-Ali. Duke-North Carolina. South Eugene-Sheldon?

2006 Promo Poster

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Team XO was founded and created by former University of Oregon Track Athletes. We are located in Eugene, Oregon, home of historic Hayward Field and Track Town USA, as all of you already know. The team is comprised of primarily post collegiate athletes that train in the state of Oregon or graduated from the University of Oregon. Team XO has been created for elite post collegiate Track & Field / Cross Country athletes looking to continue their athletic career, while competing at the highest possible level. Although creation remains in the early stages, the vision is clear. We look to provide a home and unified team atmosphere where driven, elite athletes can work together to achieve success both individually and as a team. We are always looking to expand our team with even more talented athletes that share the same drive and passion that it takes to excel at the highest level. In doing this, we look to become the premier Track & Field Team in the Nation.

Off the track, field and trail, we try and extend our vision of the way we feel our sport should be. We host an elite team high school track meet at Hayward Field called the XO Invite, direct and coach a fun low cost athletic kid’s camp called the XO Athletic Camp, and volunteer hundreds of hours a year in our community.







This year's Invited Teams
Large Size Schools
David Douglas
Lewis and Clark
North Salem
South Eugene

Medium Size Schools
Catlin Gabel

Small Size Schools
Damascus Christian
Horizon Christian
Portland Waldorf

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