Kaitlyn Kruse claims district crown
6A GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Mount Hood Conference district meet
|1. Central Catholic|
Reynolds High senior Kaitlyn Kruse spent most of Wednesday's district cross country championship race shadowing Central Catholic's Amara Christensen around the nature trails on the Sandy High campus.
"We've ran together all four years of high school, so I knew it would be a hard race," Kruse said. "I had to trust my training, as the pace picked up over the last mile."
Christensen, the defending champ, built her largest gap of the day coming through the final loop through the woods, getting out about 10 strides in front of Kruse heading down the final short hill onto the track for the finishing lap.
Kruse knew it was now or never.
She put on a speed burst of her own and pulled up on Christensen's heels halfway around the track only to see her foe quicken her pace to answer the challenge. The two were flying down the backstretch when Kruse found another gear, and this time her opponent could not answer the surge.
"It's all a mental game for me. I just couldn't give up hope and try to out kick her at the end," Kruse said. "I really like finishing on the track where you can see exactly how far is left — I gave it all I had."
Kruse came through the finish line in 19:47.3 — about 30 meters ahead of Christensen.
Central Catholic easily won the team battle with all five of its scoring runners among the top eight finishers. The Rams finished with 26 points — 37 ahead of runner-up Clackamas.
That left one spot to state available, and Barlow took it after seeing its support pack constantly move up the ranks over the 3.1-mile course. The Bruins secured third place by shaving six points off its team score over the last mile.
The Bruins' No. 3 through 5 racers, Sammy Stein, Macy McKenney and Madeline Bailey, came through the finish line barely half-a-minute apart.
"My goal is always to start out well and try to stay within site of our lead runner as I settle into my pace," Stein said.
That lead runner for the Bruins was Janessa Teachout in ninth place overall, while rookie Alyssa Stumbo finished 16th, coming in ahead of her No. 2 counterparts from fellow state contenders Sandy and David Douglas.
Gresham senior Taylor Ramirez also hung in with the lead pack throughout the race and earned a top-10 finish.
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This story is slated for our Friday, Nov. 1, print edition.
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