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After more than a year delay, the Cougars will host a meet on the high school campus Wednesday, March 3

It has been well over a year since the Canby High cross country team toed the line in an actual race, but that drought looks to be coming to an end Wednesday, March 3.

Longtime coach Tom Millbrooke said his team will host a multi-team meet this coming Wednesday. But even that event has had to be redesigned in the wake of not only the pandemic, but Mother Nature.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Canby High cross country coach Tom Millbrooke is ready to see his team run for the first time in more than a year.

"We are hosting a meet on Wednesday and we were going to host it at Molalla River State Park, but the ice storm changed all that," Millbrooke said, noting the park is essentially uninhabitable. "We will be hosting the meet on the high school campus."

Oregon City, West Linn and, on the girls side, St. Mary's will be on campus for a cross country meet March 3. But even that has its odd elements. Because of school schedules, the racing will be a bit unbalanced.

The Oregon City and St. Mary's JV girls teams will compete at 3:30 p.m. followed by all four teams in the varsity girls race at 4 p.m. Then the three boys varsity teams will play at 4:45 p.m., and finally the JV boys and girls teams from West Linn and Canby at 5:15 p.m.

Millbrooke said it has been a long haul and there's been a small nucleus that's been consistent with training as the season was in doubt for a long time.

"Normally, high school kids kind of race themselves into shape, but since we haven't had a race in more than 12 months, it's certainly going to be different," he said. "I know some of the kids are excited, but also a little nervous or even afraid. They haven't done this in a while. I just try to be supportive."

On the boys' side, he'll look to Tommy O'Niel, a junior who was fifth at the conference meet in 2019. Additionally, he said that Joel Ibarra has been consistently training with the team and getting out on runs by himself, so he's one to watch.

On the girls side, Millbrooke said who the front runners are isn't clear and he wanted the group to get a race under their belts before discussing what the future might hold.

As for the future, Millbrooke said the Cougars have a meet slated for March 10 at Tualatin, March 17 at Oregon City, then spring break followed by plenty of "not sures."

"We'll see if we have a district meet," Millbrooke said. "The OSAA already has announced that there will be no official state championships, so we'll see what happens there."

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