by: PHIL HAWKINS - Trojan cross country runner Lauren Stokley won the Special District 2 Runner of the Year award after placing first at Thursdays district championship for her fourth win of the 2013 season.Kennedy junior runner Lauren Stokley qualified for the 3A/2A/1A state cross country championships last week in emphatic fashion, setting a new personal record at the Special District 2 championship race at Bush Pasture Park on Thursday.

For the fourth time this season, Stokley set a new career best mark in the 5K, this time breaking the 20-minute mark with a first-place time of 19:57.8. The victory was predicted by head coach Steve Ritchie a week earlier after she had won the PacWest-West Valley Challenge at Bush Park on Oct. 17.

“I think if she has a good day next week, she goes under 20 and she wins pretty convincingly,” Ritchie said at the time.

His prediction was accurate after Stokley crossed the finish line almost 12 seconds ahead of Cassia Catterall of St. John Bosco. For her efforts, Stokley was chosen as the Runner of the Year for Special District 2.

Stokley’s win was the fourth in eight races for the Kennedy runner. In her four wins, Stokley has beaten the second-place runner by an average of 21.9 seconds, an astronomical margin in cross country and an extremely challenging feat, Ritchie said.

“It’s always easier to have somebody right with you or just ahead of you,” he said. “It’s just mentally tougher to be out in front and be able to push yourself.”

Other finishers for the girls team include seniors Cheyla Moranchel (22:50.9, 12th) and Irene Osorio (28:37.1, 44th). Osorio set a new PR in her final race with the Trojans.

While Stokley will be going to state as an individual, her teammates on the boys team will go together after the Trojan boys placed second behind district champion East Linn Christian. Sophomore Adrian Parra and seniors Brent Lang and John Savage each recorded personal records as the Trojans placed five of the top 21 runners.

Parra led the team with a second-place finish in 16:56.2 to establish a new school record for a sophomore. He was followed by senior Dalton Susee (17:16.6, 5th), freshman Noe Jines (17:53.3, 11th), Savage (18:17.1, 15th) and Lang (19:00.2, 21st).

Sophomore Kyle Kinyon was 25th in 19:23.3 and junior Victor Garcia was 50th in 22:01.

The 3A/2A/1A State Championships will be held at Lane Community College in Eugene this Saturday. Stokley is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., while the boys’ race will start at 10:35 a.m.

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