Senior Cooper Roach said the Valley Catholic boys’ cross country maintained a certain mindset throughout the 2013 season.

“You know if you run for your team, you’re going to have great individual performances,” said Roach.

It proved true Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene, where the Valiants captured the Class 3A/2A/1A state cross country team title.

Led by Roach’s fifth-place finish and junior Wilder Boyden’s sixth-place finish, Valley Catholic scored 74 points to beat runner-up Union’s 104.

“Today the goal was we really wanted to go out hard and finish hard and really focus on not zoning out in the second mile,” Roach said. “I think everything fell into place, not just for me but for the entire team.”

Roach, who finished ninth at last year’s state meet, began the race strong. Boyden, on the other hand, was several spots outside the top 10 around the two-mile mark.

“I just started picking people off, it was just one person every minute or so,” Boyden said. “I saw Cooper out there, and I thought he was too far to catch. But coming out of the bowl, he was only a couple places up.”

So Boyden continued his charge, eventually catching his fading teammate with less than a mile to go. From there, the runners fed off each other.

“I think running with him helped a lot,” Boyden said.

The two entered the final stretch neck-and-neck, with Roach eventually narrowly beating Boyden to the finish line. Both runners clocked in at TIMES PHOTO: DAVID BLAIR  - Valley Catholic sophomore Ben Davidson races to the finish line for the Valiants at the 3A cross country state championships on Saturday.

“Wilder finishing sixth was huge for the team,” Roach said. “He was right there pushing me.”

Earning a spot on the top-10 podium was a goal for Boyden, who finished 14th at last year’s meet.

“There were eight guys seeded right around 16:20 and I was seeded with 16:30 so I didn’t like my chances too much,” he said. “But today’s conditions were a little different, and that really takes times out of the equation.”by: TIMES PHOTO: DAVID BLAIR  - Valley Catholic sophomore Maricela Jaroch placed 10th at the 3A State Cross Country Championships on Saturday. The Valiant girls placed fourth overall.

Sophomore Ben Davidson, running in his first ever state meet, came in just outside the top 10 with a time of 16:58, good for 12th-place.

Junior Nathaniel Trobough placed 36th with a time of 17:51 and sophomore

Alex Kiss placed 38th in 17:56. Freshmen Jacob Godshalk and Phillip Borlet finished 40th and 63rd, respectively.

On the girls’ side, Valley Catholic finished fourth with 154 points in the team standings.

The Valiant girls were paced by sophomore Maricela Jaroch, who finished 10th in 20:15.

“I’m a little disappointed with what place I got, but I’m still happy with top 10,” said Maricela, who ran two seconds faster but finished four spots lower than she did at state last year. “I’m just glad I was able to be here with my team.”

Senior Grace Mannen (40th in 21:45) was second to cross the finish line for the Valiants, who finished second as a team at state last year but graduated two of their top three runners. Mannen was closely followed by sophomore Ermina Lee, who finished 42nd in 21:471.

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