Wednesday, Oct. 26, was a huge day for La Salle Prep cross country.
The Falcon guys won their sixth consecutive district championship, while La Salle girls won their first district cross country team title since 1984.
'It was really special for the girls,' said La Salle coach Brian Devine. 'It's something we've been building for for awhile and we knew it was going to be really hard fought with Molalla.'
'It was a complete team effort,' Devine said. 'Kelsey Cathcart won her first individual championship in cross country and set the tone.
'Morgan Tholl, a first-year cross country runner, stepped it up and stayed with Kelsey.
'Hannah Hildreth was a big surprise. She ran a 10-second PR and she finished in front of Molalla's second girl. That was totally unexpected….
'Madeleine Ogard and Nicole Scott both stepped it up and ran phenomenal races. Madeleine was nursing a calf injury and Nicole had been sick the last two days and we didn't even know if she was going to be able to race.'
Cathcart and Tholl finished first and second respectively in the district meet field with respective times of 20:38 and 20:46.
Hildreth, Ogard, Scott, Lilly Bengtson and Becca Baggs all crossed the finish line among the first 17 runners.
The Falcon girls defeated the runner-up team from Molalla handily, winning 29-38.
La Salle boys won big, with their seven runners among the top 10 across the finish line. They out-scored the runner-up boys team from Molalla 30-56.
'We had a lot of inexperience [on our boys team], but the depth we've developed over the last few years came into play,' said Devine. 'Logan Veasy was the only varsity runner back from last year, but we have three kids who went 1-2-3 in last year's jayvee boys race on the team.'
Veasy, a sophomore, placed fourth in the varsity boys race with a 5,000-meter time of 16:59 to lead La Salle guys.
La Salle runners Josh Jacob, Davis Keeney, Kirk Dettmer, Will Thompson, Patrick Walsh and Nick Lien placed fifth through 10th.
The Tri-Valley Conference district meet was run over a hilly 5,000-meter course at McIver State Park.
Devine said that while his girls are decided underdogs, La Salle guys plan on earning a spot on the podium at the state meet, which is scheduled Saturday at Lane Community College.
'We've established a goal as a program to get on the podium [at state] every year,' Devine said of his boys team. 'It's still our goal, even though it's a rebuilding year. We're ranked sixth, so it won't be easy. But that's our goal.'
La Salle boys placed third at state last year and they were fourth in the team standings two years ago.
Devine said his girls' goal is to improve upon last year, when they placed 10th at state.