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Team effort gives Valiants district title

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic senior Cooper Roach took second place overall at the Special District One Championship on Thursday to help the Valiants win as a team.

In their last year ever competing in the Special District One, Cooper Roach and the Valley Catholic boys’ cross country team wanted to go out with a bang.

With the Valiants moving up to 4A next year during the OSAA’s reclassification cycle, the District One Championship on Thursday was the last hurrah for Valley, and they certainly did not disappoint.

Wanting to put a final stamp on their 3A tenures, the Valiants ran away with the district title, beating Catlin Gabel 33-61. Senior Cooper Roach (second place, 16:43), junior Wilder Boyden (third place, 16:57) and sophomore Ben Davidson (fourth place, 17:06) were the headliners for the Valiant boys who matched the girls’ team title with the win.

“We wanted to come out, leave a mark and say we’re one of the best teams out there,” said Roach. “It was a lot of fun racing here for the last time. Nothing’s better than a team win, especially at districts, the week before state. It’s gives us motivation and confidence going into state for sure.”

The night before the competition, the Valiants had a team meeting where they told each other everything would fall into place if Valley held their water and didn’t try to rock the boat by trying to do too much. The squad held tough in the unpredicted heat and windless conditions that resembled more of a late-August afternoon, and didn’t get worn out by the weather.

Roach stayed put behind Portland Christian’s Sisay Gillock through the woods and down around the covered area at the Howard Terpenning Recreation Complex before the Lion senior made a strong push to the front for good.

“It was definitely tough today, tougher than I thought,” said Roach. “It was pretty warm, you can’t blame it on the weather, but you have to look at the entire team. We did really well on the team side, and that’s the most important part. That was the goal for the day, to have a solid team race.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic junior Nathaniel Trobough was one of six Valiants who placed in the top 15 at the Special District One Championship on Thursday.

Roach, Boyden and Davidson were virtual shoo-ins to place within the top five, but it was the elbow grease put out by freshman Jacob Godshalk, junior Nathaniel Trobough and sophomore Alex Kiss that brought the gold home to Valley.

“It came down to running well as a team,” said Roach. “We definitely did that. Everyone came up huge, especially those fourth and fifth guys (Godshalk and Trobough). Those are the guys that win the races, and they came through big. It’s good to have some front runners, but when it comes down to team scores, those four and five runners are the ones who make or break it.” by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic junior Wilder Boyden, front, and sophomore Ben Davidson, back, placed third and fifth at the Special District One Championship.

Trobough said head coach Tommy Manning wanted his five best runners in the top 15, which wound up being enough to beat Catlin Gabel. Trobough took 13th overall, and Kiss was 14th (18:02), giving the Valiants an extra boost in the team scores.

“I felt good,” said Trobough. “It was a good race, and I ran hard. I was trying to be in the top 15 because I was 16th last year. That was one of my main motivations this year.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic freshman Jacob Godshalk was the Valiants fourth finisher at the Special District One Championship and a key member of Valleys overall team title.

Godshalk wanted to get in the top 15 and break his personal record as well. The freshman carried out both objectives, by placing 11th overall and beating PR by two seconds (17:53). Freshman Philip Borlet (18:35) took 23rd place to round out the Valiants’ top seven runners. The entire boys’ Valiant team will run for Valley at the 3A/2A/1A State Championships on Saturday with a chance to possibly place in the top three overall.

“It feels really great,” said Godshalk. “It’s fun being on varsity as a freshman and getting in the top 15 and be all-district. It’s great being able to contribute and help my team.”




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