Kennedy girls win XC league title
The 2021 3A/2A/1A Special District 2 girls cross country championship was not decided by individual champion Jordan White of Neah-Kah-Nie, nor any of the nine runners who finished behind her in the top 10.
Instead it was Kennedy sophomore Haley Kline, unknowingly in a head-to-head race against Central Linn senior Hannah Glaser, who ultimately delivered the Trojan girls' 15th district title to Mount Angel.
With Kennedy and Central Linn tied at 75 points each following the conclusion of the district title race at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon on Thursday, it fell to the teams' highest-placing sixth runner to determine the league champion.
When second-year runner Kline crossed the finish line with a 42nd-place time of 28:11.50 — nine spots higher than Glaser's 51st-place finish in 30:07.20 — she unknowingly handed the Trojans their fifth league title in the past six seasons.
It was an unusual end to an unusual regular season for the Trojans, who claimed the title despite fielding an underexperienced team that featured three freshmen and just one senior — Cassie Traeger.
A four-year varsity student-athlete, Traeger was the first Kennedy runner across the finish line Thursday, placing 10th with a season-best time of 24:04.80. She was followed by freshmen Nora Brenden (13th, 24:33.30) and Briar Hachenberg (19th, 25:21.70) in the top 20.
Junior Kylee Rodriguez (26th, 26:29.90) and freshman Alyse Williams (35th, 27:39.50) rounded out the team's scoring runners, paving the way for Kline's title-clinching finish less than a minute later.
The boys team was led by Dakota Heard's 28th-place finish in 22:59.80, followed by fellow sophomore Raul Juarez (40th, 23:58.10).
With the league title, the Trojan girls advance to the 3A/2A/1A State Championship on Saturday, returning to Cheadle Lake Park. The girls race starts at 12:30 p.m. Spectators are allowed and there is no admission fee.
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