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STATE QUALIFIER: Elgin's Kelsey Davis practices for the upcoming 2A state cross country meet Monday. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).
STATE QUALIFIER: Elgin's Kelsey Davis practices for the upcoming 2A state cross country meet Monday. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).

By Raenelle Kwock

Observer Staff Writer

ELGIN — Freshman Kelsey Davis is looking forward to the 2A state cross country meet at Lane Community College in Eugene Saturday.

"I'm excited," she said trying to catch her breath during practice at Elgin High School Monday. "I'm really excited to go."

Elgin does not have a cross country team. Davis has been running individually in her races. She qualified for state after placing fifth at the district meet in Pendleton with a time of 21 minutes, 3 seconds.

She was fourth at pre-district in Pendleton (22:24).

Davis has sprinted in the past, but this is her first time running distance.

Volunteer coaches Diana Grandeen and Steve Stanhope have been helping her work on getting off her toes, which has helped take 45 seconds off her time in every race.

She started running for the season Aug. 1. Before the two races in Pendleton, she competed in the Catherine Creek Scamper in Union, the Wallowa Invitational, the Weston Invitational, the Enterprise Invitational and the La Grande Invitational.

Mike Gibson, a junior at Elgin, runs individually in races. He did not qualify for state.

Grandeen said Davis and Gibson challenge each other.

"He pushes on me," Davis said of Gibson. "I push on him."

"They are gods and goddesses to our junior high runners," Stanhope said.

There are a lot of junior high runners and with Davis going to state, it may inspire them to come out next year, Stanhope said.

"I'm excited for next year," Davis said.

Grandeen said Davis is an all-around great girl academically, socially and in leadership.

"She's so coachable," Grandeen said. "Great attitude. She doesn't question what you ask her to do."

Davis and Gibson have done one trail run a week.

Pam Davis said it is funny that her daughter was not interested in fall sports at first. Kelsey was encouraged by her aunt to get involved in a sport.

Davis plays basketball and signed up for cross country to get in shape.

"She's very active in everything," her mother said.

Davis is the junior lifeguard at the Elgin pool and is in FFA and FBLA.

She hopes to do very well at state, having her eye on a medal.

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