The Rangers edge LaSalle Prep for second place at the Estacada Invitational

by: ESTACADA NEWS: DAVID BALL - Members of the Estacada boys team prepare for the starters gun.The Estacada girls cross country team showed that it will be a force to be reckoned with at the Tri-Valley Conference district meet later this month.

No one was going to catch Molalla during last week’s race at McIver Park, as the Indians flooded the lead pack and ran away with a near-perfect 20-point win at the 15-team Estacada Invitational.

But the race for second place was hard fought with Estacada holding off Tri-Valley power LaSalle by two points. Doing the same at the district meet next week, also at McIver, would land the Rangers a trip to state.

Junior Mariah Johnson led the Estacada effort, running alone in second place through the entire 5K course and hitting the finish line in 18:50.83.

“You just have to keep your stride open and focus on the path ahead,” Johnson said.

The path ahead was mostly empty, as Molalla’s Emily Bever broke away from the pack after the first mile and won by more than 30 seconds with a time of 18:11.82.

A pair of Molalla racers challenged Johnson over the first half of the race before she left them in the dust during the middle mile. It marked her first time finishing ahead of Molalla’s Amanda Clarizio, who she beat by almost 20 seconds.

“Coach talked to me about being mentally stronger out there, and when you’re alone out there you have to rely on yourself,” Johnson said. “Sing a song or whatever it takes to keep going.”

Estacada’s Kayla Searls came in 11th in 20:37.04, while Nicole Wagner (14th, 20:45.07) and Sierra Erickson (19th, 21:08.34) also finished in the top 20 — both coming in ahead of their LaSalle counterparts. Delaney Alves (29th, 22:04.93) rounded out the Rangers scoring group.

• Estacada was eighth on the boys side with 175 points. Micah Jury led the team in 27th overall with a time of 18:10.39. Kyle Beguelin led the support pack home, placing 33rd in 18:26. Teammates Brendan Fordyce and Miguel Mendoza were just seconds behind.

North Marion won the team title with 40 points, led by senior Christian Parr who led from start to finish and came in with a time of 16:43.18.

View a photo gallery from the race at

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