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Cougar seniors place first in final cross country race at Molalla River State Park

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Canby senior Matthew Powell, with his parents, was honored Thursday before the Canby Invitational at Molalla River State Park.

Add Mathew Powell to the list of Canby Invitational winners.

In his final attempt, the Canby senior finished the Molalla River State Park 5K course in 17 minutes and 50.39 seconds Thursday to outperform 31 other varsity runners.

"It was a little emotional," Powell said of racing at Molalla River State Park for the final time. "When we were in the team huddle, I was trying to fight back my emotions and take in the course because I was also trying to focus on the race. Coming in with a mile to go, I knew I had the lead and I was going to get my name on that (winners) list. It's one of the coolest things I can do for cross country."

Canby senior Izabela Kacalek also won her final Canby Invitational, finishing the girls race in 19:24.7.

"It's definitely bittersweet," said Kacalek. "It's so pretty here. It's a tradition. Next year, I'll probably be here watching."

Both Kacalek and Powell have run faster times at Molalla River State Park in their careers.

"I wanted to hit just under 6:20s," Kacalek said of her splits. "I ended up being just about that time, but my splits were all over the place. It's hard to pace yourself on courses like these, especially this one because of how hilly it is."

Powell was more concerned with winning the race than posting a record time.

"I think it doesn't show the shape I'm in right now," he said. "Last week we did a 3K at Nike in Beaverton and I PR'd by like 5 seconds in the 3K. It's more an indicator of learning how to win than the time. That's all that matters is the place. Times don't matter."

Powell, the only senior running varsity, said he was also proud of Canby's team.

The Cougars easily won both races.

Sophomores Joel Ibarra and Tommy O'Neil finished second and third, respectively, in 18:18.22 and 18:29.99.

Juniors Riley Pittman and Caleb Chupp placed fourth and sixth in 18:37.05 and 18:54.25.

Canby seniors Jennifer Torres and Emma Ulven finished second and fourth in the girls race in 20:56.4 and 24:24.4.

Kendall Thomas, a sophomore, and senior Rachel Bigej took came in fifth and sixth in 25:31.8 and 25:37.8.


Derek Wiley
Reporter
503-263-6831
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