Washougal runners Aiden and Amelia Pullen had a week to remember.
The brother and sister delivered their best races in the Nike Portland XC Invitational at Portland Meadows Saturday.
Aiden, a senior, finished in fourth place in a field of 167 runners. He completed the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 24.39 seconds.
“That’s not what I was expecting. I impressed myself with that race,” he said. “I was really happy looking at that clock say 16:24 as I came across the line.”
Amelia, a sophomore, earned eighth place against 164 runners in the girls race with a time of 19:52.14.
“I wasn’t expecting to be that high up either,” she said. “I actually was just too tired to look at the time when I came over the finish, but afterward when I heard I broke 20 [minutes] that was pretty cool. It was exciting.”
“It’s a good day when both of us have a good PR and a good place,” Aiden added.
The Washougal boys cross country team rose to fourth place in the Division 2 standings at Nike XC. Gabriel Dinnel grabbed 10th place with a personal best time of 16:36.11. He and Aiden Pullen were in the lead together for about a mile.
“That was fun to do that with a teammate,” Aiden said. “[Dinnel] tripped on a hay bale. Otherwise, he would have been right there with me at the finish.”
Troy Prince-Butterfield took 46th place in 17:28.9. Tanner Lees ran a personal best time of 17:41.68 and Koy Chaston followed in 17:58.31.
Amelia Pullen led the Washougal girls team to 14th place. Hannah Swigert grabbed 40th place in 20:57.35, followed by Brooklyn Bausch (22:12.88) and Annabelle Palmer (22:34.04).
On Sept. 20, the Pullens won on their home course to help the Panthers sweep R.A. Long at Capt. William Clark Park.
“It’s kind of cool to have siblings both at that position in the races,” Aiden said.
Amelia Pullen took first place in the girls race with a time of 21:21. Swigert (21:48), Bausch (23:15), Palmer (23:41) and Morgan Stinchfield (23:54) also finished in the top five.
“I don’t think I’ve ever won a cross country race, so it was pretty exciting,” Amelia Pullen said.
Aiden Pullen earned first place in the boys race with a time of 18:06. Lees took third (18:43), Chaston clinched fourth (19:06), Tanner Coltrane claimed fifth (19:13) and Ian Palmer secured seventh (19:20).
The Pullens and the Panthers hope they can build on their breakthrough performances at Nike XC.
“Just as a team, everyone had a lot of great performances there and that’s always a good thing to have in a race,” Aiden Pullen said. “Those fast meets are how you build confidence. How you show your improvement to yourself and to everyone else.”