There's training, there's tempo runs and there's everything else that happens during the regular season for high school cross country runners.
But sometimes, when push comes to shove, you've just got to go.
Just ask Clackamas senior Jasmine Fletcher.
Fletcher, the reigning Mt. Hood Conference champion, had plenty of company during the three-team Mt. Hood Conference meet at Barlow High School on Wednesday, Sept. 29 — but she made sure the race didn't end that way.
Instead, Fletcher turned on the jets in the race's final mile, left the field behind and finished first in the 5-kilometer event with a time of 20 minutes, 40.672 seconds.
"It was kind of a tempo day, so I was just feeling it out and it went well," Fletcher said. "I thought I'd just go out with (the lead pack) and then win the race in the last mile, just kick it and see what I've got."
With Fletcher leading the way, the Cavaliers beat Barlow 26-29 and also topped Sandy 24-31. In the day's other dual meet, the Bruins beat the Pioneers 26-30.
The rest of Clackamas' top-five finishers included junior Regina Diaz-Garcia (fourth at 22:30.280), senior Ava Bluhm (seventh at 23:36.446), sophomore Alison Moe (10th at 23:49.844) and senior Melanie Smatlak (13th at 24:24.377).
Looking ahead to the Oct. 27 MHC district meet, Fletcher said that the Cavaliers are aiming for a second-place finish and a berth at state.
"Our hope for sure is to get second, but we'll see," she said. "We'll see what happens. We're a little short because of injuries — we've got five girls racing right now — but hopefully, we'll have six or seven by district."
For Barlow, which went 1-1 on Wednesday, the Bruins notched three top-five finishers in the meet, that group led by senior runner-up Sofia Clavio and her finishing time of 20:48.112.
"We knew the route because it's our school so it was nice racing at home," Clavio said. "I gave it all I had. It was a nice run."
After Clavio, the Bruins saw junior Alyssa Stumbo take third at 20:58.806, followed by senior Emily Powers (fifth at 23:12.789), sophomore Camryn Poff (14th at 24:31.184) and freshman Peyton Trickel (16th at 25:10.941).
Looking ahead, Clavio said she feels her team is positioning itself well for district.
"We are training hard for district and to go to state, and hopefully we will," she added.
While Sandy went 0-2 on the day, the Pioneers did land three runners in the meet's top nine, with senior Tess Hansen taking sixth at 23:31.709. She was followed across the finish line by freshman Lilley Wedell (eighth at 23:43.336), sophomore Susan McGaughey (ninth at 23:49.058), sophomore Maddy Cooper (11th at 23:50.344) and freshman Pilar Courter (12th at 23:51.311).
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