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Mitchell carries lead most of the way at district

Sandy senior Isaac Mitchell beats runner-up Michael Francy of Liberty by 12 seconds


by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Isaac Mitchell leads a string of runners along a gravel trail at Blue Lake Park. He won the race in 16:27.6.GRESHAM — At this time last year, Sandy’s Isaac Mitchell was limping around in a walking boot. On Wednesday, he became the fastest runner in the district.

Mitchell won the Northwest Oregon Conference district cross country meet as he crossed the finish line at Blue Lake Park more than 11 seconds ahead of any other runner (16:27.6).

“I didn’t know what to expect during the race. I knew it was going to be tough,” Mitchell said. “To be able to come away with a district title, I just feel blessed.”

As soon as the gun fired to start the race, Mitchell and Liberty’s Michael Francy shot to the front of the pack. By the time the pair reached the 1,000-meter mark, they had already distanced themselves from the rest of the crowd. Mitchell and Francy steadily lengthened that lead, keeping stride with one another.

They remained side-by-side as they entered one of the more wooded areas on the course about three-quarters of the way through. The thick tree line blocked the view of onlookers, but after about 30 seconds, Mitchell emerged from the woods by himself. He had made his move to take the lead, and he never let up. For the final 1,000 meters, Mitchell increased his speed all the way to the line. Francy couldn’t keep up the pace and faded.

As Mitchell thought back to last season when he was out with his injury, he couldn’t help but smile and shake his head in disbelief when he started to grasp the fact that he had just won the district meet. He attributed his success to his faith and his ability to keep everything in proper perspective.

“As a Christian, I realize there is more to life than running 5,000 meters on a cross country course,” Mitchell said. “Being competitive is great, but being out here to enjoy the gifts God has given me is where it’s at for me. Whether I take first or come in last, I can find satisfaction in knowing I did my best.”

True to that level-headed, faith-based character, Mitchell was the first runner to greet and congratulate the other runners as they finished the race. He will try to add a state championship to his district championship on November 2 at Lane Community College.

As a team, the Sandy boys finished fourth at district behind Wilsonville, Liberty and Sherwood. Brody White was the Pioneers’ second-best finisher, taking sixth place with a time of 17:47.2.