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Local athletes run at Nike's BorderClash

Two runners from Liberty and one from Glencoe compete in the presitgious meet


Some of the best prep cross-country runners in the region tested themselves in a couple of good, old-fashioned footraces on Saturday — and three Hillsboro kids were right in the middle of it all.

An annual cross-country meet staged at the Nike world headquarters near Beaverton, BorderClash 15 gave Glencoe’s Mason Rouches and Liberty’s Rachel Khaw and Michael Francy the chance to challenge themselves against the fastest high schooler distance runners that Oregon and Washington have to offer.

The meet pitted the top runners from the area against each other in a battle for state supremacy. Forty boys and 40 girls from each state qualified based on their finishes at their respective high school state meets earlier this fall.

In celebration of the 15th edition of the event, the races were staged at night, with lights guiding participants on the course around the campus and lighting up the start/finish area at Ronaldo Field.

“They’ve worked real hard,” Liberty coach David Douglas said about his runners, though the statement equally applies to Glencoe’s Rouches.

“It’s always great when they get the chance to showcase their stuff on that type of a venue, and it’s an honor to be able to participate in that.”

Khaw posted the top finish of the Hillsboro participants with a 34th-place result in the girls race. The sophomore, who finished third in the Class 5A girls state meet race earlier this month, covered the 4,387-meter BorderClash course in 17 minutes, 10 seconds.

“I kept feeling like I was going farther ahead, but there are so many people,” said Khaw, who was 14th among the Oregon runners. “I keep seeing more and more.”

Perhaps it was the night running that agreed with her. She had difficulty telling where she was going, she said, but she was immensely improved from her 67th-place finish and 17:56 clocking in 2012.

“I liked it a lot,” she said. “I felt like I was going faster.”

Alexa Efraimson, a junior at Washington’s Camas High School and one of the top female distance runners in the country, won in 15:43. Grant’s Ella Donaghu took second in 16:00 and Hannah Gindlesperger of Summit in Bend finished third in 16:05.

Francy made a bit of school history by becoming the first Falcon boy to race in the meet.

“It was a pretty good race,” noted the senior, who was 11th in the 5A boys state meet race and the final automatic qualifier from that field into BorderClash. On Saturday, Francy finished 56th in 14:50, three places and two seconds behind Rouches, who also just made the cut.

Rouches took 18th in the Class 6A boys meet at state, two spots away from the final automatic qualifying spot for BorderClash. But he made it in by posting one of the three fastest times among all nonautomatic qualifiers at state, regardless of classification.

“Racing in the dark was kind of scary because the terrain was pretty uneven and there was some up-and-down hills, and some people tripped right at the beginning,” Rouches said. “But it was fun. I placed about where I wanted to.”

Summit’s Matthew Maton won the boys race in 13:28. Two Washington runners, John Dressel (13:40) and Joe Hardy (13:47), followed in second and third place. The Evergreen State captured both team titles, 23-36 on the girls’ side and 20-37 for the boys.



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