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A reigning Cougars basketball champions, 4x volleyball champ, and a Molalla track and field champ

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Country Christian senior Anna Farner has been a part of four years of championship competition. Her team and she won four consecutive volleyball titles, appeared in four basketball championship games, and Farner appeared at Hayward Field for Molalla four years in a row. Over the last four years, there has been a consistency in athletic greatness from Country Christian High School's girls programs. The volleyball team has won four consecutive state championships; the girls' basketball team has made four consecutive appearances in the finals, and won two of them. Athletes from those teams that move on to participate in spring sports for Molalla find themselves able participate in track and field, tennis, golf, or softball.

For Country Christian senior Anna Farner, her time in high school was consumed by athletics year round. In the fall, Farner played volleyball; in the winter, basketball. In the spring, she sprinted.

The daughter of Molalla sprinting coach Sheron Farner, Anna grew up on the track and it became an inevitability that she would eventually compete there. However, despite the proximity of track and field, it was not where Farner began her athletic career.

"I started playing basketball in kindergarten, and I've played that sport ever since," Farner said. "I actually played for Molalla until the eighth grade. So in my junior high years I actually played for Country Christian and Molalla. I played on two teams because it's legal then, until you get to high school."

Despite the successes that the volleyball team experienced while Farner and her teammates participated, and despite the familial connection to track and field, Farner enjoyed basketball the most.

The pace of the game was what drew Farner to the sport and kept her there. The pounding up and down the court, the constant chance to get back at the opponent after a score, the competition of it all. Farner likes to go fast, and she went fast in basketball.

Over the course of her time playing basketball at Country Christian, Farner was on a team that participated in four straight finals games. The Cougars lost a close matchup to Damascus Christian Farner's freshman year; as a sophomore, the team bested North Douglas by double digits to win her team's first title; last year they were blown out by Nixyaawii; and this year they put a buzzer beater past Golden Eagles to win the rematch. The last championship is one of Farner's favorite moments as an athlete.

"I couldn't believe we had won," Farner said. "No one thought we would do this. We were on cloud nine. Everybody was jumping, a lot of people were in shock."

Despite ending her high school career on several high notes (a volleyball championship, a basketball championship, and a berth at the state track and field meet), this senior year was the hardest for Farner.

In August, Farner tore her ACL, an injury that has ended many an athletic career. One week after her surgery, Farner flipped her truck after hitting a patch of gravel on Union Mills Road. The wreck happened on the first day of school.

"I think it's just life, I think it just happened," Farner said. "I was lucky to be alive. My younger brother was in the seat next to me, and the worst thing was I came out with the seat belt scratch across my neck. I actually felt pretty blessed coming out of that."

The wreck and ACL injury caused Farner to miss all of volleyball season. She went to the practices and the games, and supported her teammates, but was unable to compete. She also had to sit out the majority of the basketball season as well, only coming back into the fold for the last six games of the year.

"It was a really hard year going through the ACL injury because it really hurt physically, but there's a lot of mental stuff that went with it," Farner said. "Not being able to play with your team, even though you're there with them. I went to every practice, every game, but it still felt like I was left out. That really hurt. Them winning a state title…you know you're a part of it because for years you've been pushing other girls and you were there for everything, but it still feels like you've been left out."

Despite missing out on the majority of the basketball season, Farner was still given second team all-state honors for her contributions to the teams upset of Nixyaawii. It was a testament to the lifetime of competition.

Track and field season started shortly after the Cougars championship run, and Farner went to join her mother and the Molalla track and field squad. For three weeks, all seemed like it was finally going Farner's way when injury reared its ugly head.

Farner suffered a meniscus tear, and had to sit out again to let it heal. The setback was difficult for the super competitive athlete.

"I don't know that it was depression, but I had episodes where I didn't want to go physical therapy anymore and I didn't want to try because it was useless," Farner said. "My surgeon was telling me that I wouldn't get to play. I would get really sad."

It was a time of learning the difficult lessons that life often gives people in their heyday. This top athlete, and promising post high school talent, was forced to learn to be patient, or risk injuring her knee beyond repair.

"The hardest lesson to learn is that it's not going to always work out like you want it to," Farner said. "That's been the hardest to learn this year. Everything I've gone through…I was really excited before this year started, it was going to be the best year ever, it's my senior year, I did well last year. Even though I got the knee injury, I couldn't get the knee healthier fast enough, I couldn't get myself released fast enough, I couldn't heal it myself. I just had to wait. I couldn't do what I wanted, I had to wait for it to take its course."

Farner returned to the track and competed at the district meet, and qualified for the state meet for the fourth year in a row. She will have the opportunity to compete in college. Farner is signed to compete with Seattle Pacific on the track and field team, and hopes to walk on to their basketball program as well.

Farner will be studying sociology, and hopes to utilize the knowledge gained in school to become a social worker and combat human trafficking.

"I've been really interested in social work and getting involved in an association that helps prevent human trafficking and raises awareness for it," Farner said. "I have a heart for those kinds of people. I'm very sympathetic for people. I went on a mission trip to Brazil for two weeks and found that every time I saw children without shoes I wanted to give them my shoes, or anytime I saw women begging for money I wanted to give them money. Even though I couldn't give all my stuff away. It was sad but I found that I could help people. I want to do that."

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