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Blues flood the front to win league racing crown


Paige Rice paces the pack from start to finish at the MHC district meet

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Paige Rice turns the corner for the final stretch of Wednesdays district championship race. Spectators at the Mount Hood Conference cross country championships could easily track the leaders on the course — all they had to do was follow the wave of blue.

St. Mary’s won the girls crown with a team tally of 20 — just five points short of a perfect score. The Blues held the top three positions from start to finish and packed six of their racers into the top 10 overall.

Senior Paige Rice spent most of the 5K race by herself well ahead of the field. She crossed through the finish line in 18:19.9.

“It was a lonely race, and I prefer having a swarm of people around me,” Rice said. “It’s hard to get that fire, that ‘Let’s go’ feeling.”

Teammates Lacey Conner and Molly McCullough came in 2-3, while Lucy O’Sullivan came in fifth beating the No. 1 runners from five schools.

“Short of something catastrophic happening, we knew we’d be going onto state, so today was more about getting some fast times on the board,” Rice said.

The Blues are looking for that elusive state title after coming up two points short against Grant last season.

St. Mary’s joins Gresham at the state meet after the Gophers put on a late rush to overtake Reynolds for second place Wednesday. The Raiders held a two-point lead heading onto the track for the final 300 meters, but Gresham kicked it in fast to finish with 83 points — three ahead of Reynolds.

Emily Rose, the team’s No. 4 racer, did most of the damage by passing two Reynolds runners on her sprint to the finish line.

View an online photo gallery of the girls race at …