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Estacada girls earn trip to Eugene

The Rangers pull away from LaSalle to finish second at the Tri-Valley district meet


by: ESTACADA NEWS: DAVID BALL - The Estacada girls team comes off the starting line during last weeks district race at McIver Park. The Rangers finished second, beating LaSalle by 18 points for the last spot to state. The Estacada girls cross country team had just earned an extra week of workouts, but that couldn’t erase the smiles from their faces after Wednesday’s district meet.

The Rangers will be making their first trip to Eugene in more than a decade to race at Saturday’s 4A state meet. Estacada earned the spot by beating LaSalle Prep by 18 points in the battle for second place Wednesday at McIver Park.

It was expected to be a close fight after the teams came in just two points apart (Estacada won) on the same course two weeks ago at the Estacada Invitational.

It appeared to be more of the same at district with the Rangers clinging to a one-point lead at the first mile marker. But Estacada pulled away in the middle of the course and grew its lead to almost 20.

The big shift came when Estacada’s No. 2 through 4 racers Kayla Searls, Nicole Wagner and Sierra Erickson all found their way in front of LaSalle’s No. 2 runner, accounting for a 10-point swing in the team score.

“I wanted to keep patient and not use all my energy, so on the second loop, we waited until they seemed tired and we made a move going up a hill,” Searls said.

Searls (9th, 21:50.09) and Wagner (10th, 22:04.87) gave Estacada three racers in the top 10, while Erickson came in 13th in 22:20.88.

Estacada’s top runner Mariah Johnson spent most of the race isolated on the trails, running in fourth place behind Molalla’s lead pack and well ahead of LaSalle’s No. 1 racer. She hit the finish line and turned her attention to her teammates, screaming and clapping encouragement as they came into the finishing chute.

“Everyone has worked so hard all season, they deserve it as much as anyone,” Johnson said. “We knew what we had to do coming in. We knew LaSalle was the target, and we pushed past them and got it.”

Johnson finished fourth in 19:53.12.

The Rangers put a final stamp on their win over the Falcons when their final scoring runner Kara Kammers dashed to the finish line, passing by LaSalle’s No. 4 racer in the process.

“Sprinting at the end is my favorite part of the race,” Kammers said. “You just get that little extra kick. I heard my teammates cheering and that helped keep me moving.”

Delaney Alves (21st, 23:13.29) and Kaylee Schaffer (24th, 23:38.62) rounded out the Rangers lineup.

Molalla packed six runners in the top 10 overall, including the top three finishers. Emily Bever won the race in 18:56.63, and the Indians had a team total of 18, missing a rare perfect score by only three points.

• On the boys side, Estacada came in fourth with 112 points, led by Micah Jury in 13th place with a time of 18:23.30. He was joined in the top half by Kyle Beguelin (18th, 19:07.50) and Brendan Fordyce (21st, 19:31.90).

LaSalle won the team crown with a perfect score of 15, led by race-winner Will Thompson in 16:35.80. North Marion earned the league’s second spot to state.

View a photo gallery from the race at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




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