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PREP WATCH: Ella Donaghu kicks to 9th at Nike XN

Ella Donaghu of Grant High came on strong down the stretch and finished ninth Saturday in the Nike Cross Nationals cross-country meet at Portland Meadows.

"She couldn't have done a better race," Grant coach Doug Winn says. "Her kick was much faster than usual. She's been working on that. She's come a long way from last year."

Donaghu, the two-time Class 6A state champion, ran 17:49.7, a 5:45-mile pace. She was the top placer from Oregon.

Camas' Alexa Efraimson took home the title in 16:50.1, winning the girls race by 3.7 seconds over Elise Cranny, a senior state champion from Niwot, Colo.

Donaghu's plan, Winn says, was to "start out the first mile in around 20th place and then surge forward after that and try to get into the top 15.

"Halfway through the race ,she was in about 20th place and looked like she was having a bit of a hard time. The next time I saw her (at the 4K mark), she was in 12th and pushing hard. She kicked really hard and came in ninth by beating a couple runners at the end."

• In the Nike XN boys race, Central Catholic's state championship squad placed 19th out of 22 teams after earning at at-large berth.

Kyle Thompson, a two-time 6A state champ for the Rams, took 40th in 15:39.

Sam Truax was next for the Portland XC Club, placing 78th in 16:04.

Samuel Lomax ran 16:28, Gunnar Vik 16:35, Zackeria Lavier 16:57, Daniel Thompson 16:58 and Jean-Baptiste Tooley 17:23.