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XC: League championships around the corner for Scappoose, St. Helens

The Tribesmen certainly seem to be peaking at just the right time, and just in time for the fast-approaching Cowapa League cross country championships on Oct. 25.

Led by another excellent showing from senior Dan Carrier, Scappoose had four of their top-five runners set new season personal bests at the George Fox Classic in Newberg last Saturday. The performance was enough to push Scappoose into a third-place finish out of 28 teams in the Varsity Boys Invitational division, which featured over 200 runners across all six divisions.

Carrier ran the 5K in 17:01.9, besting his previous mark by three seconds. Still, Carrier has a good distance to go if he hopes to challenge the league leaders at Camp Rilea in eight days. Six Cowapa League foes finished in under 17 minutes at the Sandelie Golf Course Invitational in West Linn on Oct. 10, led by Wilder Boyden and Ben Davidson of Valley Catholic in 15:39 and 15:53, respectively.

Unlike many teams who are top-heavy with one runner ahead of the pack, Valley Catholic is fast enough that they have a legitimate chance of sweeping the Cowapa League championships in their first year at the Class 4A level. All five of Valley Catholic's scoring markers ran the course on Oct. 10 in under 16:55, and the Valiants hold eight of the top-15 times on the boys’ side so far this season. Carrier, at 10th, is the lone Tribe representative, with junior Mason Reardon trotting in at 20th.

Reardon is inching ever closer to snapping the personal mark of 17:39 he set at the OSAA state championships back in 2012 as a freshman. Running a 17:47 was another step closer, just six seconds off his personal best and the fastest time Reardon has ever recorded so early in October.

The Indians also got highlights from senior Jacob Harley, who knocked 33 seconds off his season PR and is just four seconds away from his career best after running the George Fox course in 18:01.

For St. Helens, the Lions were led by senior Casey Cooke, who finished seven-tenths of a second behind Reardon with a time of 17:47.8, good for a new season-best.

St. Helens freshman Ross Munro, running in the third spot for the Lions, set a new career PR of 19:28, running alongside junior Jarret Boynton. Sophomore Brendan Fugere rounded out the top-five with season-best time of 19:49.3.

On the girls' side, though she has slowed since her record-setting performance at McCormick Park on Oct. 8, Linnaea Kavulich remains the girl to beat in the Cowapa League, with still nearly 30 seconds between her and Seaside senior Charlotte Blakesley. Kavulich punched in a time of 20:06 in Newberg, and will have a chance to combat Blakesley when the two meet at Valley Catholic High School for the Valiant Invitational on Oct. 17.

Kavulich finished just behind No. 2 Molalla junior Amanda Clarizio as the lone Tribe runner to compete in the Varsity Girls Elite division.

Kavulich's absence opened the door for fellow freshman Georgia Benner, who was only 10 seconds away from setting a new lifetime PR in the invitational division. Benner was quickly followed by junior Caley Ricker, who snapped a career-best mark for the fourth race in a row, setting the bar at 22:10 and breaking into the top-50 out of 156 runners.

The St. Helens girls had only five JV runners compete at the George Fox Classic, with the all-important NW Oregon Conference championships scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 22 at Blue Lake Park in Gresham. The girls’ varsity race will begin at 3:30 p.m., with the boys set for 4 p.m.

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