Molalla boys cross country team wins Tri-Valley championship
ESTACADA — Three years ago, three freshmen showed up at Molalla wanting to do something that had not been done at their school in more than a decade.
On Wednesday afternoon at McIver Park, Noah Roth, Brendon Perla and Kadyn Eves accomplished that lofty goal, leading the boys cross country team to the Tri-Valley Conference championship, the program's first district title since 2003.
The Indians edged Gladstone by five points, 33 to 38.
"It's crazy. I don't really have words right now. Sixteen years is a long time," said Roth, who was born in 2002, and paced the Indians to the title, finishing third out of 38 runners in 18 minutes, 4.51 seconds. "This is what we've set out to do and we've done it and I can't really speak."
Perla and Eves were not far behind Roth, placing fourth and fifth, respectively, in 18:13.57 and 18:16.01.
"It's a huge thing for us," Perla said. "I cannot be more proud of our team. It's the best feeling to know that we all pulled together and we did that. It's good to know that our family is that strong that we can do that and really push each other."
Molalla sophomore Riley Reynolds, who is new to cross country this season, finished ninth in 18:47.79 and senior Angel Garcia Cortes, running in his first varsity race, took 12th in 18:59.48.
Reynolds and Garcia Cortes both ran personal best times at the district meet.
"They've been very dedicated to pushing themselves," Molalla coach Sheron Farner said of the boys team, which tied for second in the Tri-Valley Conference last season.
Estacada senior Dakota Glover won the varsity boys race in 17:53.80. Gladstone senior Derek Johnson finished second in 17:54.55.
Molalla's girls ran shorthanded as senior Shannon Castleton-Rudolph was unable to compete due to an injury.
In her absence, sophomore Crista Baurer led the Indians, placing eighth out of 22 runners in 24:12.71.
"Crista had a great race," Farner said. "She's been our third runner and she stepped up and ran a great race today."
Senior Kelsey Childress took ninth in 24:20 as Molalla finished eight points away from qualifying for state, placing third behind team champion Estacada and second place Corbett.
Estacada freshman Heather Shaver won the varsity girls race in 21:26.68. Gladstone juniors Brynn Tatom and Brookyln Tatom finished second and third, respectively, in 21:36.66 and 21:44.12.
Molalla's boys will compete at the Class 4A state meet next Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene for the second straight year.
"I'm excited. I'd like to see us do better than we did last year," Farner said. "We had an exciting time, but I think we're still in need of some experience."
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