As long as BorderClash exists it will flat out be one of the coolest meets in the country. Like every year, with the boom of a cannon the best young harriers in the Northwest take off in a sprint towards each other before a hard turn takes them along and around the Nike Campus.
There are professional runners everywhere. There is a helicopter that follows the race, projecting an aerial view onto a giant screen for the spectators. The Nike swag handed out to the athletes is unmatched. You can’t find cooler awards. But make no mistake about it, BorderClash is much more than just the aesthetics.
BorderClash is about the history of the two states. Over the past decade Washington can throw their hat into the conversation of being the top distance running state in the country. Oregon, pound for pound, is as good as any. From the old South Eugene squad to the dominance of the Spokane area, the Northwest has always produced great individuals and teams.
BorderClash makes both states better. High Schools no longer want to be just all-state athletes, they want to qualify for BorderClash. In the small divisions that can mean having to literally win the state title. To strive to make BorderClash is a worthy pursuit, a pursuit that intensifies the competition.
Some harriers from their respective states meet each other for the first time. Some know each other only by the times they have ran. Others are rivals. But for one day every year, all of them become teammates for a short time. It’s a friendly rivalry, one that Washington has dominated for quite sometime. But beyond the rivalry there is a sense of camraderie that exist with being a runner, and specifically a runner in the Northwest. Three of the top boys in the nation were in the race this past Sunday. They separated themselves early and seemingly were going to jog in together when John Dressel made a strong move at the end of the race. When he went it was over. Neither Matthew Maton or Tanner Anderson could respond in enough time.
That’s what is great about this meet. There are runners coming off bad state meet experiences trying to finish their season off with a bang. Others have taken two weeks off and are simply there to get the gear. Some, like Dressel, Maton and Anderson still have NXN’s or Footlocker to run and trying to save some mojo. No matter what category these young harriers found themselves in Sunday morning they all deserved to be there.
The girls take a spill on the turn going onto the wooden bridge to the trails. Ella got up, recovered, and got the lead back for the win. Photos by Michael T. Smith
Although Sunday was two states pitted against each other, my distance runner soul tells me that come NXN and FL the state of Washington will be cheering for Ella Donaghu who was victorious; and her for them. Something tells me that Maton will be cheering on Anderson to do well at NXN, and Anderson will wish the best for Maton at Foot Locker. It’s the Northwest versus everyone.