LEBANON, Ore.– Blanchet Catholic’s Emma Lutz had overtaken the strong runner in Scio’s Athena Lau coming down the stretch. Making the last loop out-and-back from the start and finish line. It was a battle between second and third-place with fourth-place Regis’ Julia McLaughlin was some distance behind them looking for a slip up from the runners in front of her.
For McLaughlin, it was a slow start at the start and end of the race that had ultimately kept her from making the battle for second-place a little more interesting as the trio qualified for the State Race April 10.
“I had a slower beginning for me and towards the third mile, I slowed down a little bit. So just kind of upping the mile-pace just a little bit for each of them I think,” McLaughlin said, who finished the race in 21:39.7. “I always try to look up and keep looking at them, not letting them leave my sight…just trying to stay with them. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen today so I ran a competitive race.”
Both Lutz and Lau kept pace with one another during the race. Lau hung onto the second-spot for the first half of the race before tailing off and Lutz taking over the position as the race drew to a close. Neah-Kah-Nie’s Jordan White had set the pace from the go in her District Championship race, winning it by 30 seconds over Lau.
Making the turn-around down the back-stretch towards the hill they’ve conquered already during the race, Lau hit a kick and overtook Lutz for second. Building a slight lead over the hill and coming to the finish line.
Lutz tried for one final kick, no luck as Lau shut the door on Lutz. Taking second place by a shade over two seconds.
“It was really good because it drove me, competition. Every step comes from the Lord and every step, every sweat is for him, the Glory of God,” said an emotional Lau. “It’s pretty amazing
“I’ve dealt with her before, once I had caught her I kept it for a while. I tried to hang on, but by the end I just really wanted to get to the finish line and I made it to State,” Lutz said. “It’s pretty awesome, I’ve never gone before. I mean I went there once for Track, but it felt really good. I just need to push it and stay with it.”
Kennedy’s Cassie Traeger finished tenth as the Trojans won the 3A/2A/1A Special District 2 District Title via Tiebreaker with Central Linn. Both teams finished with 75 team points. Ari Merisma of Western Christian finished ninth.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald