Before the season, Molalla set a goal to win the Tri-Valley district championship.
Last week at Milo McIver State Park in Estacada, the Indians showed they are right on schedule.
Juniors Brendon Perla, Noah Roth and Kadyn Eves all ran personal best Wednesday to lead the boys cross country team at the Estacada Invite.
"I just had a really good kick at the end there," said Perla, who finished 11th in 17 minutes, 41.25 seconds. "I put everything I had into it. But I couldn't have done it without my team. I had that instinct that I needed to go and I just went. It was a good race though. It was a really good day."
Perla, Roth and Eves ran together for most of the race. Roth finished 13th in 17:43.87 and Eves placed 15th in 17:52.83.
In the team standings, Molalla finished ahead of Tri-Valley foes Gladstone, Estacada, Madras, North Marion and Corbett.
Gladstone, the reigning district champions, were missing their top runner, senior Derek Johnson, whose time of 17:39.2 is the fastest in the Tri-Valley this season.
The 2019 district meet is back at McIver State Park on Oct. 30.
"It will be a really close race between all the Molalla kids and we'll keep pushing each other harder and harder every race," Perla said. "It's hard to tell where we'll place at the end. That family aspect of Molalla is really what makes us strong as a team and knowing the whole team has our backs, it really pushes us to go harder and harder every race."
Sophomore Riley Reynolds (35th, 19:03.39) and junior Clay Sperl (37th, 19:07.64) rounded out Molalla's top five.
Seniors Kelsey Childress (34th, 24:18.57) and Shannon Castleton-Rudolph (24:35.53) led Molalla's girls.
"I feel good about where we're at," Molalla coach Sheron Farner said. "They did what I expected. Their hard work is paying off and we still have two weeks to get better."
Country Christian also had a big day at the Estacada Invite as sophomore Cooper Halverson ran a school record 18:10.15.
"Wow. I did not see that coming. It's hard to believe," a stunned Halverson said after the race.
After running a 19:06 at the end of last season, Halverson was chasing the school record of 18:21, but had yet to even finish under 19 minutes.
"I thought I was going slow at first, but it's so cold it's hard to tell what pace I'm going," Halverson said. "I'm surprised I got that time. I'm not wearing a coat to any more races."
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