The Sandy girls pack six runners into the top 20 overall to win at Blue Lake Park

GRESHAM — Wilsonville’s Taryn Rawlings won the race, but the Pioneers won the day.

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon at the Northwest Oregon Conference district cross country meet, the Sandy girls sent two individual runners to state and won the team competition.

As anticipated, Rawlings and Liberty’s Rachel Khaw darted to the front of the pack early and put plenty of space between themselves and the rest of the field. The two stayed side-by-side before Rawlings pulled ahead on the last leg of the race and held on to win. Khaw crossed the finish line three seconds with no other runners in sight.

About a minute after Rawlings and Khaw finished, Sandy’s Dalen Richardson emerged alone atop the ridge overlooking the final stretch of the run. She earned third-place honors with a time of 20:44.3.

Just as Richardson was catching her breath, her teammate Grace Knapp came into view. Knapp held a decent lead over surging Wilsonville runner Haley Prusse, which she maintained. By finishing with at 21:05, Knapp grabbed the fourth top-5 spot to qualify for the state meet on November 2.

“That is what we have been hoping for all season, to go to state together,” Richardson said.

For Knapp, the accomplishment exceeds all of her expectations for the season.

“I am more than satisfied with fourth place, I am so excited,” Knapp said. “This is my first year of cross country, so to be able to go to state, it’s just so great, and it will be a lot of fun going with Dalen.”

Richardson and Knapp put the Pioneers right at the top of the team leader board with Wilsonville, but Sandy’s other runners gave the team the boost it needed to edge out the Wildcats. Zayna Salveter finished sixth (21:18), just 1.5 seconds beyond Prusse. Freshman Terra Uhler had a nice showing in her first district meet, registering a time of 21:47.9, to come in 11th. Paola Phipps and Pamela Frasier also cracked the top-20 to represent the Pioneers.

In all, Sandy placed three runners in the top-6 and six in the top-20. Wilsonville also had six runners finish 20th or better, and Sherwood had four.

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