The Sandy sophomore gets the final state berth with eighth place finish
Sandy runner Lynsey Bender extended her cross country season by taking eighth place at the Mount Hood Conference district meet to claim the final state berth Wednesday, Oct. 25.
While the race leaders sped away from the pack early on, Bender stayed among the second group of runners throughout the 5-kilometer course that wound around Sandy's athletic fields. She moved up a spot during the half-mile trek through the woods and held off Missy Lawler of Reynolds down the stretch to claim a spot at the starting line Saturday in Eugene.
'I knew the course well, and that boosted my confidence going into all the twists and turns in the woods,' Bender said. 'I got three-fourths through the race and was where I wanted to be. After that it's all mental to the finish.'
Bender hit the tape in 21 minutes, 6.4 seconds, beating Lawler by several strides.
Sandy finished sixth in the team tally, losing a spot on a tiebreaker against Reynolds.
St. Mary's filled three of the first five spots to win the team title with 35 points. Gresham earned the second team berth to state despite losing it's lead runner halfway through the race.
Freshman Khalia Tidwell slipped on a wet downhill going into a wooded section of the course. She was in second place at the time, but was unable to finish the race.
That meant Gresham's supporting pack needed to make up ground. And each runner came through with a big effort. All five of Gresham's scoring runners finished within a minute of each other, led by Jaime Demars in seventh place overall.
'I saw her (Tidwell) in the forest holding her ankle, and I knew I had to run faster and work harder,' Demars said. 'I passed three girls before
2 getting out of the woods.'
Centennial's Michelle Dettmann won the individual title, pacing the pack from start to finish and completing the course in 19:07.8.
- BOYS -
In boys action, the Pioneers failed to win a dual meet during the regular season, but beat Gresham by 29 points to take seventh place at the district meet. Sandy held their biggest edge when its No. 2 and 3 racers, Devin Connell and Wes Hughes, beat their Gresham counterparts by large margins.
Jacob Cuniff paced Sandy in 13th overall with a time of 17:34.6, missing the final state berth by 10 seconds.
Central Catholic cruised through the dual-meet season and continued its dominance Wednesday. The Rams filled four of the top five spots, led by race-winner Taylor Morgan, who hit the finish line in 16:24.3.
Morgan and Hood River's Leo Castillo traded leads several times throughout the 5-kilometer course with Castillo charging to the front coming out of the hilly, wooded section. Morgan pulled onto his shoulder and surged in front to stay going into the final loop around a baseball field. He hit the finish line almost 100 meters ahead.
Reynolds beat David Douglas by 18 points to claim the final team berth to state. Raiders' junior Daniel Vo was the first East County runner to hit the finish line taking sixth overall.
Additional district meet results are listed in the Scoreboard on Page 11A.