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Alec Carne wins individual title, Cade Catterson finishes in third place, while Savannah Jessee leads the Cowgirls with a sixth place finish

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Shown at the Oxford Classic, Alec Carne took the individual championship at the Intermountain Conference Cross Country meet, helping the Cowboys to a second place finish and a return trip to state.In one of the most hotly contested district cross country meets in recent history, the Crook County Cowboys survived to advance to the state meet.

Meanwhile, although they had a great meet, the Cowgirls came up just short, finishing third at the Intermountain Conference Championships, which were held Thursday afternoon at Sorosis Park in The Dalles.

"I'm super proud of the entire team today," said Crook County head coach Orrie Gonzales. "Everyone ran their guts out. This is one tough and competitive league. Each year you never know what can happen."

Things went nearly perfectly for the Cowboys.

Despite Hood River Valley runners holding onto the top three times in the district heading into the race, Crook County's Alec Carne won the district championship with a time of 16:41.22.

It is his second time as district champion. The junior also won the Class 4A Tri-Valley Conference individual title his freshman year.

Meanwhile, senior Cade Catterson, who won the IMC title a year ago, finished third with a time of 16:49.98.

Rounding out the scoring for the Cowboys were junior Alex Vail, 11th with a time of 17:25.70, senior Zach Mauras, 15th in 18:14.52, and Van Williams, 16th with a time of 18:16.99.

"I couldn't be more happy with the boys today," Gonzales said. "They ran really tough. It was another crazy close team race with first and second being separated by four points and second and third separated by just one. It was a blast to watch, and the finish was super exciting. They have worked hard all season, and it showed today."

Also running in the varsity meet for the Cowboys were Xavier Layne, who finished 33rd with a time of 20:29.17, and Austin Strong, 34th in 20:38.77.

Although they ran varsity at district, neither runner will compete for the Cowboys at the state meet, as sophomore Tucker Bonner and junior Steven Ware, who both ran in the JV meet, ran faster times, earning varsity spots at state.

Bonner finished with a time of 19:42.90, while Ware ran a time of 20:18.90.

Led by second place finisher Juan Diego Contreras, 16:42.53, The Dalles edged Crook County for first place in the boys meet with 42 points.

The Cowboys were a close second with 46 points, while the favorite Hood River Valley Eagles finished third with 47 points.

With just the top five individuals and the top two teams qualifying for the state meet, the No. 3 ranked Eagles failed to qualify anyone for the state meet.

Rounding out the team scoring were Redmond, 96, and Pendleton, 123. Ridgeview also competed, but did not field a complete team.

Like Hood River Valley in the boys meet, the Cowgirls just missed out on qualifying any runners for the state meet.

Crook County's top runner, freshman Savannah Jessee, finished in sixth place with a time of 20:33.06.

Jessee was less than nine seconds behind Hood River Valley's Chloe Bullock, who finished in fifth place with a time of 20:24.40.

Hood River Valley's Josephine Dickinson won the meet with a time of 19:31.19, leading the Eagles to the team title with 24 points.

The Dalles finished in second with 69, while the Cowgirls were third with 890 points. Pendleton also competed, scoring 104, Redmond, 110, and Ridgeview, 129.

Rounding out the scoring for the Cowgirls were senior Jan Carne, 10th in 20:56.66, sophomore McCall Woodward, 20th in 21:59.55, junior Maggie Ramoss, 25th in 22:43.18 and sophomore Lindsey Mode, 28th in 22:56.74.

Also running in the varsity race were sophomore Elise Rice, 29th in 23:06.75, and junior Kelcie Ames, 33rd in 23:42.01.

"Savannah ran her best race of the year and really showed what she is made of," Gonzales said. "The girls all left it on the table, and we are all really proud of their effort. They faced some of the best teams in the state today."

As in the boys race, JV runners Ann Carne, 22:40.04, and Kennedy Larson, 23:12.05, ran fast enough to have competed in the varsity race.

The Cowboys will compete in the state cross country meet on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Lane Community College in Eugene.

Races start at 10 a.m. with the Class 3A/2A/1A race. The Class 5A boys race is set to begin at 2:20 p.m.

"I'm excited to see the Cowboys run again in Eugene at state," Gonzales said.

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