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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation December 10, 2017

10/31/2017 1:01:00 PM
Outlaws race to seventh straight District title
The Lady Outlaws took their seventh consecutive District title with a strong performance last weekend. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
The Lady Outlaws took their seventh consecutive District title with a strong performance last weekend. photo by Jerry Baldock

Ella Cole makes a run for it in Sisters Outlaws cross-country action. photo by Charlie Kanzig
+ click to enlarge
Ella Cole makes a run for it in Sisters Outlaws cross-country action. photo by Charlie Kanzig

The Sisters Outlaws girls bid adieu to the Sky-Em Conference with their seventh consecutive District cross-country title on Thursday, September 26 at Lane Community College behind the top nine finishes by all five scorers.

Anna Bartlett, the defending individual champion, faced the toughest field of girls in many years and finished fourth despite running the best time of her career by nearly 20 seconds with a mark of 19:37.

Kaitlin Cook, a sophomore from Elmira, nipped Junction City's frosh phenom Anika Thompson 19:11.7 to 19:11.9. Andrea Griffin of Elmira finished third in 19:27.

Ella Cole ran alone in fifth place for nearly the entire race and also established a career best with a time of 20:56. Her teammates Tate Ricker (21:43), Amy Hills (21:52), and Engracia Diez (22:00) came through sixth, eighth, and ninth places to firmly secure the Outlaws' win with 30 points.

Brooke Robillard placed 14th in 22:47 and Iris Diez finished 25th in 24:22 as the sixth and seventh runners for the team.

Elmira placed second with 47 points to also qualify for the OSAA State Cross Country Championships set for all classifications Saturday, November 4, at Lane Community College.

Junction City placed third with 75 points, Sutherlin fourth with 85, and Cottage Grove fifth with 109. Sweet Home did not field a complete team.

"We expected to win, but didn't anticipate such a crowd of fast runners in the front pack," said Coach Josh Nordell. "Elmira's girls certainly came ready to run and Junction City's freshman was totally impressive."

Sisters has been a member of the Sky-Em League since 2006, but will be joining a new conference next season, the Oregon West, that includes Sweet Home, Stayton, Philomath, Newport and Woodburn.

Since 2006, the Sisters girls' team has missed the state meet only one time and has consistently placed in the top six in the team standings, including a number of team trophies. The Outlaws snagged the fourth-place trophy last year in a very tight battle, just four points behind Philomath and four points ahead of Scappoose.

The 4A girls race, scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Saturday, will include the fourteen 4A teams that qualified from the seven districts in Oregon. In addition to Sisters, qualifying teams include Estacada, Crook County, Klamath Union, Henley, Tillamook, Scappoose, Elmira, Siuslaw, South Umpqua, Philomath, Stayton, La Grande and Baker.

Tillamook, last year's champion, is considered the favorite again this year, while the other three trophy spots appear up for grabs. Sisters ended the regular season tied for fifth in the coaches' poll, with Estacada and La Grande; while Scappoose, Siuslaw, and Philomath occupied spots two, three, and four, and the Cheesemakers held onto the top position.

"The beauty of the state meet is that polls and early season results don't really matter," said Nordell. "What matters is who shows up healthy and ready to race. It should be a very exciting team race."

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