Sunset hopes for more big things in the year's biggest races - district and state
by: MILES VANCE, LEADERS OF THE PACK — Sunset’s Audrey Botti (left) and Crissy Foster lead Beaverton’s Sarah Curry during their 5K race last Wednesday at Tualatin Hills.

BEAVERTON - From the outside looking in, things are pretty great for the Sunset girls cross country team.

The Apollos are once-beaten in league, loaded with talent and second-ranked in the state.

And by year's end, things may actually turn out to be just that good.

But Sunset has had to battle its way through a variety of injuries, took a tough Metro loss against top-ranked Jesuit back on Sept. 27, and knows that the story of its season will ultimately be written at the coming district and - the Apollos hope - state meets.

Sunset (3-1 in the Metro League) took a nice step toward writing that happy ending last week against Beaverton (2-2) when the Apollos KO'd the Beavers 17-32 at Tualatin Hills, notching the top three finishers of the day and four of the top five en route to their victory.

'Our object today was to run as a pack and to get our fifth runner as close to the front as possible,' said Sunset sophomore Audrey Botti, who won the race with a finishing time of 19 minutes, 55 seconds.

The Apollos, who competed without the services of the injured Ellen Lekas, did a pretty good job of keeping their pack together, notching six of the day's top seven finishers and bringing Maddie Rousseau home in sixth just 57 seconds behind Botti. Sunset's Crissy Foster was second overall at 20:05, followed by teammates Julia Quiring (third in 20:22), Rosalyn Huard (fifth in 20:40) and Rousseau (sixth in 20:52).

For her part, Botti was pleased with her efforts, but more focused on the big meets to come - the Metro District Meet is set for 3 p.m. Oct. 25 at Tualatin Hills and the Class 6A state meet at 2:15 p.m. Nov. 4 at Lane Community College.

'We've had a lot of people injured, but if we're healthy, we have a chance,' Botti said. 'I think we have a chance.'

Beaverton senior Sarah Curry was the lone Beaver to break into the top five, racing home to place fourth overall in 20:25, just three seconds behind Quiring.

'Coach (Jim Archer) was like 'Get your nose in it. Make them work for it,'' Curry said. 'And that's what we tried to do.'

Still, Curry was less than thrilled with her overall time - she had hoped for, but failed to get, a new personal best - but hopeful for better things ahead at district.

'I didn't really have a good race today,' she said. 'I got used to the slow pace at the start and then it was tough to shift gears.'

After Curry, Lindsey Thomas was seventh at 20:56, Courtney Graham was eighth in 21:00, Melissa Reith was 16th in 24:04 and Claire Douglass 17th in 24:29.

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