By Jeremy McDonald
LEBANON, Ore.– It was a weird feeling when Kennedy’s Alejandra Lopez was approaching the finish line in the 3A/2A/1A Special District 2 Cross Country race Thursday.
Weird in that she wasn’t in the shadow of Kaylin Cantu, having finished District Runner-up to the 2018 Trojan graduate the last three-years at the District Meet.
“It’s actually really cool, it’s really different from being in someone’s shadow. It just feels a lot different,” said Lopez as she crossed the finish-line in 18:52.3.
Shear exhaustion was on her face as she collapsed to the grass at Cheadle Lake Park, her time would have been good enough for 33rd in the 1A/2A boys race or 14th in the 3A Boys Race, but after being helped to the side the Kennedy Senior got to her feet to loosen up her legs and get some feeling back in them.
“I felt really good about it,” said Lopez. “It hurt really bad like my shins, but I really wanted to push myself especially this race because I know State is a uphill course.”
Aleksandra Eyles finished tenth, Cassie Traeger was 17th, Clarissa Trager was 22nd and Whitney Lopez was 29th with Kennedy bringing home another District Title Trophy to their Trophy Case. Lopez won the 3A/2A/1A Special District 2 Female Runner of The Year with her focus now to State where she finished fifth the last two years and eighth as a Freshman.
For the Senior runner, she hopes the next week will help her heal up properly as she trains for her final race on the sport’s biggest stage as Kennedy too brought home the Coach of the Year award as well.
“I’m going to take it easy, not so many miles this week. Maybe more speed work, but have a couple more easy days so I can recover,” said Lopez.
The Trojan Boys finished third as a team, qualifying as a team to go to State with Luke Hall finishing ninth, Gianni Velazquez was 13th, Nick Riedman was 15th. Jose Salazar (23th) and Micah Parker (25th) rounded out the Top 25 finishers for Kennedy.