Senior wins Metro opener at THRPD

It's lonely being at the front.

With no one to turn to, to pursue or track from behind, running along the front line of a girls' cross country race can be eerie and unnerving.

At least, that's what Aloha senior Allison Martinez regarded as truth before the Warrior's four-way meet with Beaverton, Westview, and Sunset at THRPD on Wednesday.

After Martinez's primo display against the Apollos' top duo of Charlotte Corless and Nicole Griffiths, however, the Warrior runner might want to get comfortable leading the pack. Martinez-rocking a pair of knee-high, bright neon socks- snatched the lead from starting gun and never relented, winning the race in 18:46.

“This race was really good because I was comfortable up there. It's nice to get the good view instead of everyone's back,” said Martinez. “I've been training really hard and I've been very focused on my workouts and goals. I've definitely had some setbacks in the past, but they've definitely made me a lot stronger.”

Martinez said it's sometimes strange being in the front because she doesn't know who's around her. The senior said she's been practicing leading the pack in her workouts and running with the Warrior boys' team. But, nothing really simulates how to regulate the leading position, like a race environment. Martinez has never been to the state meet, so that's her primary ambition this year and she'd love to run in Border Clash in November.

“This is kind of my first season where I'm finally out there in front and it's really fun but it's really intimidating,” said Martinez. “I have a lot of respect for the girls that I run against and it's really fun to be in the front and race against girls of that caliber.”

Aloha sophomores Alyssa Foote (19:43) and Taylor Nickel (19:48) finished 9th and 10th overall for the Warriors who also had good performances from junior Alexa Bailey (14th place, 20:13) and senior Jemimah Cordes (20:41, 16th place). The Warriors finished second as a team with 50 points.

Sunset ran two “tempo miles” in tandems, then bolted their respective ways the last third of the race. Griffiths said the Apollos' race design was to run with one of their teammates and push them to a personal record. The Apollos won the four-way with 26 team points over the Warriors' 50. Corless placed second (18:51) behind Martinez and Griffiths took third (19:19).

“It showed what we could do,” said Griffiths. “We could change it up and still finish well and finish where we should be. I'm really excited for our season, I think we can do really well. We have a lot of depth. We're all really close to each other (in times) and able to compete with everyone on the team.”

Griffiths said she thinks Sunset can only get better the rest of the season and Corless mentioned the team's talent pool is strengthening. Senior Hailey Francis (19:32), sophomores Audrey (19:39) and Isabel (19:40) Huelskamp finished sixth, seventh and eight at THRPD. Junior Amanda Calderwood (20:07) took 13th.

“It was a good chance to help our three, four, and five runners,” said Corless. “Now, they have more confidence and so when we go against Jesuit, we'll all be ready to go. “Everybody competed really well,” said Corless. “We were focused on the team, and not so much racing at the front but helping our teammates. It was a good race to be a part of.”

Beaverton's Olivia Rabin continued her stellar freshman season, setting a personal record (19:28) and taking fifth place overall. With teammates Erin Gregoire and Emma Bowers in street clothes watching from the side, Rabin stepped up and carried the Beavers' flag towards the front of the pack with Martinez and Sunset's duo.

“This is our home course and I like it personally and I just felt good,” said Rabin. “I really wanted to get under 20 (minutes) and I knew if I stayed with the other girls (Martinez, Griffiths, Corless) that they'd do 19's. That's what motivated me to stay with them.”

Rabin and Bowers usually run together both in races and practice, so having her partner missing was a little different, the freshman said.

“It was a little sad that they couldn't run today,” said Rabin. “But, as a team, we love each other and we're training together. Hopefully that means we can get better together too. I'm just going to keep training and hopefully I can get another PR before the season's over.”

Beaver senior Alexis Amesquita (21:54), junior Anisha Malynur (22:28), freshman Elizabeth Oekerman (22:29), sophomore Pei Biorn-Hansen (22:42), freshman Isabella Frey (23:14) all finished in the top-40 for Beaverton.

Westview's Sarah Medved said she wanted to match Corless and Griffiths stride-for-stride and ended up fourth overall (19:25). The Wildcat senior had only participated in two races prior to Wednesday's, one where the weather was awful. She's hoping from now on the season will get better, with her strong showing against Aloha and Sunset acting as a starting point.

“My lungs felt good, it was just the mental part,” said Medved. “It was saying 'Hey, I can do this, I can do this'. That felt great. I enjoyed it. I'm pretty excited to compete in the Metro and hopefully go to state.”

Seniors Liliana Considine (19:52) and Rebecca Scheer (20:04) were joined by freshman Kelsey Kuhns (21:08) in the top-25 overall for the Wildcats. Senior Katelyn Ruka wasn't far behind her Westview pack, taking 28th place (21:32). The Wildcats took third place with 66 points.

“We honestly do really work together,” said Medved. “A couple of our girls are sick, but the girls who just got on varsity are working up. They're getting bigger and stronger so I think we're going to have a pretty good team this year.”

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