The Mount Hood Conference  offered its District championship once again at Centennial high school on Wednesday.     The  temperature was cool, which felt  even chillier  due to a distinct win, and the rain let  loose making the conditions a  challenge yet there was some  great racing.
      The girls  started the varsity  competition  but unfortunately  they  did not begin the action, as a JV race  had been held  prior to that.   Why, when  berths in the State meet are on the line, other runners should be allowed on the course first is beyond me, and the  course was a mess  right  from the start, especially on the areas where was an up-grade.   Making things  even more 'interesting' a Barlow runner was tripped right after the start and the race was called back.
     That  said, Centennial star Michelle Dettman made light of the conditions &  proceeded to cut the pace from the start as if it was a balmy day.   While even dedicated cross country fans exclaimed what a terrible  day it is Dettman gave as fine of an example that life is what one makes of it and simply had fun out there.   She established a ten meter lead after  running only 2 minutes & continued to push onward the rest of the way.   Behind her Erin Jones of Hood River & Khalia Tidwell of Gresham battled for second.   They in turn opened up a sizable gap over Alexa Kearns of St. Mary's, who was forced to run alone the entire way.  Well behind her came team mates  Lucy Whipps &  Taylor Ffitch who made it clear early that St. Mary's would take the team title.
     The mile mark, reached in 5:40, showed  the lead  had grown to 30 meters but in just the next 200 meters on the track the lead ballooned to 50 meters.   Michelle  was in control & it was now only a question of who could hold on for second.    Jones & Tidwell  were left to battle for second, although  the Gresham runner was having a hard time  in the sloppy conditions.     Through the wind  &  steady rain the leader splashed along seemingly oblivious to the conditions, while  behind her Jones had  fought to  establish a 5 meter lead over Tidwell.    Kearns, still alone in 4th, was another 20 meters back.
      Another kilometer later saw little  change in position, although  the leader was getting ready to lap her first runner.    In the end she earned a victory of almost 30 seconds in a time of  18:28.    Erin Jones claimed  2nd while Tidwell  took 3rd.    Alexa Kearns of St. Mary's  wound  up 4th, while team mates Lucy Whipps & Taylor Ffitch took the next two places & were in turn  followed by Jen Olson who is also from St. Mary's .   Melissa Allen of Gresham was 8th just edging Andrea Dettman of Centennial, who earned her first trip to State.   Kay Anna Cichi of Gresham finished 10th just a bit in front of  Bethany Loumena of Central Catholic, who earned the last individual State berth.   Erin Bergmann of St. Mary's  placed  12th to finalize the team score of  34 points.  Gresham  garnered 2nd  place with 53 points to claim the other berth.  
       St. Mary's ran without one of their leaders Alexandra Jones, so they  could  give favored Jesuit a good battle at State.    Michelle Dettman, of course,  will be an important individual factor as well.  
      The race among the boys saw Central Catholic runners dominate from the onset of the race like the St. Mary's girls had done earlier, leaving the only  question what other team would claim 2nd & earn a berth.   Individually it was Joel Turkheimer & Musa Ahmed, who  took a quick lead, while defending State champion Taylor Morgan  was a close 3rd along with Leo Castillo of Hood River.  
     By the time the leaders reached the mile mark, around 5:05, Castillo had assumed a slight  lead.   Morgan loomed in 2nd  with Turkheimer &  Ahmed shadowing only 5 yards behind him.    The Hood River harrier, as is his wont, pushed the pace & Morgan fell back a bit & was joined by his two team mates.   Castillo made a move to break on the far side of the soccer field, which was covered but, when he  surged again later near the track, he  opened a 20 meter gap.   By the 4K mark he appeared to be  taking control of the race.  
     They raced out of sight up the hill for a bit  & once they had  returned to view it  was noted that the leader had widened the gap.   The  thought  was the Central Catholic runners would conserve energy & wait for the State meet but Morgan made a concerted effort once he crested the muddy hill.   Literally putting his head down he began a surge toward the leader.    Castillo had opened up a good 30 meter lead up to that point & at first it appeared the move would be too late, yet Morgan  closed the gap surprisingly fast.    He had in fact  cut so deeply into the lead that he almost appeared  to have  slowed to assess the situation just before   heading to the last hill going down  to the track..
      Upon reaching the track Castillo still had a 5 yard lead & fans were  yelling at him to go but Morgan was flying now.    The five yard  lead  quickly became a 10 yard  deficit as Morgan applied his vaunted  kick.    In the 200 meters remaining he opened up a  six second lead displaying he is back & ready to defend his state championship.    Musa Ahmed  finished 3rd for Central Catholic ahead of team mate Joel Turkheimer who was  followed in turn by CC runners Austin Jones, Samot Turina, & Peter Slauson.    Daniel Vo of Reynolds & Toby Maunu of Sandy took 8th & 9th & Bobby Ellis of Sandy rounded out the top ten.    Yonny Cstillo of Hood River & Michael De Tienne of Centennial  claimed the last two individual berths.
       Central Catholic scored  only 19 points for an overwhelming victory while  Reynolds best Hood River for second place. 


Boys  Individual Results
1     Taylor Morgan    Central Catholic        12     16:07
2      Leo Castillo        Hood River        12    16:13
3      Musa Ahmed    Central Catholic        10    16:20
4      Joel Turkheimer    Central Catholic        12    16:23
5      Austin Jones        Central Catholic        12    16:35
6      Samot Turina    Central Catholic        11    16:36
7      Peter Slauson    Central Catholic        10    16:40
8      Daniel Vo        Reynolds        12    17:12
9      Toby Maunu    Sandy            11    17:19*
10    Bobby Ellis        Reynolds        12    17:20
11    Yonny Castillo    Hood River          9    17:37*
12    Michael De Tienne    Centennial        12    17:39*
13    Alex Vanslyke    Hood River        12    17:44
14    Kevin Wooley    Reynolds        10    17:53
15    Jordy Bright        Barlow            12    17:57
16    Brent Raleigh    Reynolds        12    17:59
17     Jacob Cuniff    Sandy            12    18:01