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Distance runners power Blues to runner-up finish

St. Marys comes in second behind Barlow at the MHC girls district track meet


by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - St. Mary's Paige Rice leads the way in the 1,500-meter final Wednesday, while teammate Ellen Patterson works to keep pace in the outside lane. The pair finished 1-2 in both the 1,500 and 3,000 races. St. Mary’s gave regular-season champion Barlow all it could handle during Wednesday’s district finals, but in the end, it was the Bruins who emerged with the Mount Hood Conference crown.

Barlow tallied 134 team points, powered by its sprint crew that started the day with a blistering victory in the 400-meter relay, clocking in at 48.26 seconds — the fastest time in the state this season.

Rookie runner Macie Allen put the Bruins ahead on the first turn and sophomore Danelle Woodcock flashed down the backstretch to widen the gap to several strides.

Meera Niles-Paul and Margaret Paul carried the lead through the finish line with a clocking of 48.26 — the fastest in the state this year.

“I got the baton and just said keep it going, keep it going,” Paul said. “Winning tonight has been a goal all season, so it feels great to fulfill it.”

Woodcock was the high scorer at the meet also picking up wins in the 100 (12.22) and triple jump (36-11 1/2), while settling for second in the long jump just a thumb length off another win.

St. Mary’s countered with its stellar distance crew, which totaled more than half of the team’s points in only three races. Paige Rice and Ellen Patterson highlighted the charge with 1-2 finishes in the 1,500 (4:37.84) and 3,000 (10:03.09).

“I had others counting on me to set a pace to hit the qualifying mark for state,” Rice said. “When you train day in and day out with these girls it’s comforting to have them there with me on race day.”

The top five finishers in Tuesday’s 3,000 final met the state qualifying time.

Kate Patterson and Lucy O’Sullivan finished 2-3 in the 800 final, while Chiara Chandlee won the 400 (57.83).

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - St. Mary's Annlise Helm bends the bar during her third-place effort in the pole vault.

Gresham standout Haley Crouser swept wins across the board in the throws. She won the shot put (40-8 1/4) and javelin (145-10) on Tuesday’s opening day and returned Wednesday to win the discus (113-5). While winning three blue ribbons, her load was lighter than past years as she looks to stay healthy for the big stage in Eugene. Crouser has battled foot, leg and back injuries throughout the spring.

“I don’t feel like I’m really doing anything. I’m not running. I’m not jumping. It’s a big change from last year,” Crouser said. “But I’m happy to get qualified, and now I have a week to heal up and get ready for state.”

Central Catholic’s Olivia Gabriel won the 200 (25.62) and Maheyla Molinari won the 800 (2:23.57).

View a photo gallery from the meet at …

http://daveball.exposuremanager.com/g/may15_mhc_girls_track