Back and running strong

Timberwolf junior Alli Cross, returning from injury, wins at the Tualatin Invite
by: DAN BROOD FAST TO THE FRONT — Tualatin junior Alli Cross sprints to the lead early in the race last week at the Tualatin Invitational. Cross went on to win the race.

TUALATIN - Last spring, Alli Cross couldn't compete for the Tualatin track and field team.

Cross, then a Timberwolf sophomore, had to watch from the sidelines due to a stress fracture in her foot.

She says she was frustrated with not being able to run during track season. She also said that her motivation for this fall's cross country season increased in a big way.

Well, last week, Cross took out all of that frustration and motivation on the cross country course.

Cross, now a Tualatin junior, ran to an impressive victory in the varsity girls race of the Tualatin Invitational cross country meet, held Sept. 7 at Tualatin High School.

'I felt really good today,' Cross said after her win. 'I was really nervous since I didn't run track last spring. This was my first race since last cross country season and I didn't know what was going to happen.'

In the varsity girls race, which was shortened to 3,400 meters due to the heat wave that scorched the area last year, Cross triumphed in a time of 12 minutes and 48 seconds. Emily Weber of South Salem was second at 12:52.

Cross took control of the race from the beginning. She sprinted to the front of the pack after the starting gun sounded and was in charge the rest of the way.

'I usually run better when I get out into first,' she said. 'It gives me a different mindset, so I try to get out fast. Getting the lead really helps with this course.'

Cross knows all about what it takes to win, as she finished first in last year's Pacific Conference cross country district championships. She had hoped to carry over all of that success to the spring track season.

'I was training hard before track,' she said. 'I was in the best shape I'd ever been in.'

But it wasn't to be.

Cross suffered a stress fracture in her foot before the season started.

'I was so bummed,' she said. 'I'm a vegetarian and I wasn't getting enough protein and calcium.'

Cross is still a vegetarian, but now she's taking vitamins to make sure she's getting enough protein and calcium.

She's also is filled with motivation.

'I'm really excited for this year,' she said. 'I'm much more motivated. I hope to win district again and I want to finish in the top five at state.'

Also for the Tualatin girls at last week's meet, sophomore Alyssa Fuji finished in 14th place in a time of 14:32. Junior Kayla O'Brien was 28th at 15:10, junior Sarah McDowell was 37th at 15:28 and junior Emily Barry was 50th at 16:08.

The Timberwolves, who competed without senior standout Kristin Coffman, finished in fifth place in the team standings at the invitational with 127 points.

'Things are looking good,' Cross said. 'We've got a lot of new girls and we're really working well as a team.'

The Sherwood girls finished in third place in the team standings with 99 points.

Senior Victoria Kalina led the way for the Lady Bowmen, placing 13th in a time of 14:32.

Also for the Sherwood girls, sophomore Avery Rosenbalm was 16th at 14:35, senior Kylie Thalhofer was 22nd at 14:59, junior Kelsey Niebergall was 23rd at 15:06, junior Devon Greene was 24th at 15:07 and senior Cara Smurdon was 32nd at 15:14.

On the boys side, Tualatin finished in fourth place in the team standings with 83 points.

Senior Nathan Love paced the Wolves. He finished in sixth place individually with a time of 11:04.

Also for Tualatin, junior Scott Allred was 12th at 11:28, sophomore Tyler Snyder was 15th at 11:38, senior Dylan Moore was 18th at 11:47 and junior Austin Hunsdon was 32nd at 12:16.

The Sherwood boys finished in eighth place in the team standings with 182 points.

Senior Peter Alley was the top finisher for the Sherwood boys. He finished in 16th place with a time of 11:41.

Also for the Bowmen, junior Evan Heslop was 33rd at 12:17, freshman Tristan Bishop was 40th at 12:30, junior Cody Thompson was 46th at 12:42 and junior Connor Anderson was 51st at 12:47.