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Union’s Katriel O’Reilly won the 3A/2A/1A state cross country meet Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene. The junior finished with a time of 19:16 to become UHS’s first girls state champion. Emma Sheehy-For The Observer
EUGENE — Union/Cove’s one-two punch kayoed the rest of the state Saturday.
Katriel O’Reilly and McKenzie Evans took the top two places in the 3A/2A/1A title race at Lane Community College and led Union to a 29-point win — the school’s second in a row.
Creswell took second with 53 points, followed by Valley Catholic (65), Bandon (fourth, 129) and Catlin Gabel in fifth with 173 points.
Southwest Christian (sixth, 184) led the second five team finishers, followed by St. Mary’s (seventh, 210), Cascade Christian (eighth, 211), Pleasant Hill (ninth, 272) and East Linn Christian (10th, 277).
Vale, the runner-up in the district championships behind Union, finished 12th with 314 points, behind Kennedy (11th, 287) and ahead of Myrtle Point (13th, 330) and Westside Christian (14th, 372).
O’Reilly won the race in 19:16, while Evans was 17 seconds back with a 19:33 time.
“It’s the first time we have had a sweep of the top two individual spots, and the first time we have ever had a girls individual champion,” coach Steve Sheehy said.
Creswell’s Olivia Powell was third in 19:55, ahead of Valley Catholic’s Josephine Chau (third, 20:07) and Stephanie Croy of Cascade Christian (fifth, 20:14).
“Katriel and defending champion Olivia Powell came through the first mile very fast,” Sheehy said.
“They were stride for stride and ran a split of 5:41. That is screaming fast (and is about 17:40 pace).”
Around the 1.5-mile mark, O’Reilly made a hard move and dropped Powell going through the trails by the ponds.
At the two-mile mark, O’Reilly had opened a lead of 15 meters. At that point, Evans caught Powell and went past her.
During the last mile, both O’Reilly and Evans put on a very good show of increasing their lead on Powell and the rest of the field, according to Sheehy.
Stormy Bullard gave the Lady Cats a third finisher when she crossed the line in 12th place with a time of 20:42. Bullard was just five seconds from a top-10 finish in the state meet and just one second behind the Catlin Gabel runner ahead of her.
Lynn Shoemaker was 28th in a tight three-way finish between Bandon’s Hailey Iverson (27th) and Brooklyn Gillespie of St. Mary (29th) — all with the identical 21:38 time.
Hannah Brazil was Union/Cove’s final scorer, taking 32nd in 21:44.
Union’s sixth and seventh runners, Sarah Brazil came in 45th with a time of 22:07 and Elly Wells was 51st in 22:26.
“Back in the girls pack, we were losing our dual with Valley Catholic. The rest of our girls team was very far back in the pack,” Sheehy said.
“In fact, I was very worried at that point that we were going to have a very long bus ride home. However, Bullard was on the move. Between Mile 1 and Mile 3 Stormy moved from about 30th to finish in 12th place.
“A bit further back, Lynn Shoemaker led the Bobcat trio of Hannah and Sarah Brazil and Elly Wells on a charge. They really moved up. We were still in a bit of trouble by the end of the second mile, but those four girls owned it in the last mile. It was really impressive.
“We beat a very, very good team from Valley Catholic in Beaverton to get our second straight state girls championship.
“I think how these girls ran that last mile shows their heart. They really wanted that championship.”