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The Pacers win three times and improve to 8-0; Lions go 2-1 and move to 6-3 in TRL action.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lakeridge junior Ainsley Williams runs to a third-place finish against St. Mary's, Tigard and West Linn at Portland's Fernhill Park on Wednesday, March 17.What could be better?

The weather was great, the field was stacked with talent and, let's be honest, the very fact that the Three Rivers League's best girls cross country runners were allowed to compete was a huge bonus after a year of pandemic-related lockdown.

In the four-team Three Rivers League meet held Wednesday, March 18, at Portland's Fernhill Park, the Lakeridge and West Linn girls teams were both tough against St. Mary's and Tigard.

In the end, the Pacers swept to three wins, beating the Lions (25-30), the Tigers (22-35) and the Blues (15-inc.), while West Linn won its other two dual meets, beating Tigard (20-37) and St. Mary's (15-inc.).

"Everyone on the team has been running very consistently throughout the season thus far and has put in so much effort in the short season," said Lakeridge junior Ainsley Williams, who finished third overall in 20 minutes, 33.02 seconds for the 5,000-meter race. "Everyone always encourages each other during … races and it really creates a positive environment for the team."

Lakeridge ran its TRL record to 8-0 midway through the 2021 season, while the Lions went 2-1 for the third straight week and improved to 6-3 in league competition.

"I think everybody did a great job," said West Linn junior Maddie Meyer, who placed seventh overall with a time of 21:24.26. "I am so proud of every single person who ran because they were fighting the whole time and stayed motivated. Our whole team has been working very hard and it's exciting to see the hard work pay off."

TRL Girls XC

Williams posted her best time of the season Wednesday, trailing just St. Mary's event-winner Fiona Lenth (19:29.54) and Tigard runner-up Lillian Herman (19:46.76) across the finish line.

"Even with a mask on, I was quite surprised I managed to shave a minute off my PR today," Williams said. "I felt much stronger today and had an easier time maintaining my pace throughout the race."

The Pacers had two other top-six finishers in the race, with senior Holly Lane fifth at 21:01.97 and senior Tessa Divergilio sixth at 21:14.56. The rest of Lakeridge's top-seven included: freshman Olivia Smith, 11th at 22:42.55; freshman Megan Larson, 17th at 23:14.84; sophomore Julia Weidlich, 19th at 23:38.25; and freshman Eliza Appleyard, 23rd at 24:25.43.

While Lakeridge took top honors at the meet, West Linn was strong, too, with junior Kate Sousley fourth at 20:54.63, Meyer seventh and sophomore Ava Sullivan 10th with a 22:38.49.

"I feel happy with my performance today," Meyer said. "I tried the best I could and had fun while doing it."

After those three, West Linn sophomore Audrey Jacklyn finished 13th at 22:53.57, followed by senior Samantha Van Horn (14th at 23:01.37), sophomore Shyan Hargis (18th at 23:21.93) and junior Sarah Talbert (22nd at 24:15.47).

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