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Six teams to run at Molalla River State Park Thursday. Varsity races begin at 5:30 p.m.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Shannon Castleton-Rudolph returns to the Molalla cross country team this season.

Molalla and Country Christian will kick off cross country season at the Canby Invitational Thursday at Molalla River State Park.

Six teams have registered for the five races. Joining host Canby and Molalla and Country Christian are Class 4A Corbett and 3A programs Santiam Christian and Westside Christian.

The meet begins at 4:30 p.m. with a boys freshmen/sophomore 3K race. After junior varsity races at 4:35 and 5 p.m., varsity runners will take the 5K course at 5:30 and 6, starting with the girls.

The course should provide an early challenge.

"It used to be a typical cross country course, but now it's sort of graded hard and tough," Canby coach Tom Millbrooke said. "The footing is not real good and there are some hills in it. Years ago when we started nobody worried about their time in cross country, but now with the internet and everything, everybody wants to compare times and everybody wants to be on the flat and fast courses. Now ours is thought to be a little more difficult, but it's really a good honest cross country course."

Molalla's boys tied for second in the Tri Valley League last season to qualify for the 4A state meet, while Corbett finished sixth in the district.

"I want to see what our one through seven order will be when we run and see how consistent they can be," Molalla coach Sheron Farner said. "Our goal is to pack it in within a minute of each other."

Derek Wiley
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