By Jeremy McDonald
LEBANON, Ore.– Regis’ Julia McLoughlin went out strong and probably a tad-bit fast in her final prep Cross Country race Saturday afternoon, but she had found herself in the front pack of the 3A/2A/1A Cross Country State Race.
“Honestly a lot better than the whole season. I went out and stayed with the pack, we were fast the first mile, it was like 6:10that first mile,” McLoughlin started. “I decided to stay with the pack, stay with them and just consistently ran the same round as I think as my mile times.”
When they looped back to the start/finish line for the second lap out, McLoughlin was around ninth. She dipped back to tenth on the way out. But she stayed with it as the cluster of girls in front of Holly Hutton (Bandon), Katie Chapman (Lowell) and Jordan White (Neah-Kah-Nie) were in front of the Ram Senior.
White, who won the Special District 2 title last week, finished a hair ahead of McLaughlin. In a matter of fact, sixth through tenth were within 0.10 of a second with Myrtle Point’s Sarah Nicholson on McLaughlin’s heels in tenth.
“I think just focusing on my breathing, listening to everyone who has been supporting me especially my coaches who gave me strength throughout the whole race. I couldn’t have done it without them,” said McLoughlin. “So just listening to them supporting me is huge for me.
“The Cross Country atmosphere was big today, everyone being out here. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end the season. I got the PR I’ve been chasing all season so that’s been really great for me. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my High School career.”
Scio’s Athena Lau, who finished District Runner-Up on March 31, finished 13th in the 3A/2A/1A State Race, taking the last two years’ success as a learning experience entering her Junior year in the Fall.
“Just find the ability to focus and just remember to keep the eye on the prize,” Lau said, as she finished the race in 21:04.62. “There’s only so much you can do to prepare for a race, but I really think that I did my best and that’s just going to motivate me for next year.”
Blanchet Catholic’s Emma Lutz finished 18th with a time of 21:41.69. Kennedy’s Cassie Traeger finished 38th with a time of 22:48.16 as the Trojans finished tenth as a team. Bandon won the girls race with Columbia Christian’s Makena Houston winning the race in 18:24.33.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald