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State cross country berths on the line today

The Pacific Conference district meet will be held today at Clackamas Community College

OREGON CITY - The Tigard and Tualatin high school cross country teams, as well as teams from the four other Pacific Conference schools, will be vying for state meet bids today (Thursday) when they run at the league's district championships.

The meet will be held today at Clackamas Community College. The first race, the junior varsity girls race, is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. The JV boys will be next on the course, with their race starting at 3 p.m. The varsity girls race is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. and the varsity boys race will follow at 4 p.m.

The top two teams and top four individuals not from the top two teams in each varsity race at district will advance to compete at the Class 6A state championships, which will be held Nov. 4 at Lane Community College in Eugene.

Tualatin and Tigard are expected to battle for the girls district team title at today's meet.

The Timberwolves, who are the defending district champs, claimed the 2006 Pacific Conference dual meet title with a perfect 5-0 record. They look to be well prepared, and quite deep, heading into the district event.

'We have had quite a battle all season for varsity spots,' Tualatin girls coach Paul Zitzelsberger said. 'We like our depth and how well we have closed gaps from runners one to seven.'

The Tigard girls finished second in the league dual meet standings with a 5-1 record.

'We're ready to make a bid to go to the state meet,' Tigard coach Denise Foote said. 'And, who knows? If things work out well we might get a district title.'

Newberg sophomore Sarah Boyd, the defending district meet champion, looks to be the individual favorite for today's race. Other top contenders could include Tualatin junior Devon Frazier and freshman Emily Wheeler, Tigard junior Sarah Walch and senior Cassie Carroll and Newberg's Dani Hawblitzel.

On the boys side, Canby, the defending district team champion, looks to be the favorite this year. The Cougars went 5-0 in league dual meets this season.

Forest Grove looks to be the other top contender on the boys side.

The Tigard boys are also hoping to make some noise.

'The team is shooting for at least a third-place finish,' Tigard boys coach Gabe Doebler said.

The young Tualatin boys squad is also looking forward to today's district event.

'We have really shown improvement in the last couple of weeks and are looking to move up the ladder at districts,' Tualatin boys coach Jim Edson said. 'We are also hoping to qualify at least some individuals to state.'

Canby's Sean Coleman, the defending district meet champion, appears to be the individual favorite at today's race. He'll be battling teammate Josh Raines and Josh Seitz of Forest Grove for individual honors.

Santana Alvarez of Newberg, Nick Lennartz of Tigard and Timothy Plunkett of Tualatin are among the other top competitors.

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The Sherwood cross country teams competed at the Northwest Oregon Conference district meet Wednesday at Memorial Park in Wilsonville. Results from the meet weren't available when the Times went to press.