Sprague runner Sara Abbott placed fourth in the Mountain Valley Conference cross country championships her freshman and junior seasons.
Now as a senior, she has the best time in the newly formed Central Valley Conference entering Wednesday’s district meet at Bush’s Pasture Park.
“Sara’s strengths as a runner are her dedication to running, her ability to be a great team leader, and always having goals to work towards,” Sprague coach Debora Deleon said. “She’s showed that by coming to every single practice starting in June, always gives 100%, and consistently demonstrating grit in all her workouts and races.”
Abbott ran a conference-best 18:23.2 on Sept. 16 at the Meriwether CC Classic.
North Salem freshman Nelida Dalgas is second in the conference with a time of 18:36.7.
“This season, I have seen Sara improve in several areas, beginning with her leadership skills. She has stepped up as a highly respected leader, including leading the team in warmups and consistently modeling a strong work ethic,” Sprague assistant coach Barry Jahn said.
“Another area of improvement is her ability to work through the difficult times when the body just doesn’t feel 100%. She’s able to focus better and deal with temporary setbacks,” Jahn said. “And finally, her mental preparation is dramatically improved. She has confidence in the workouts, visualizes the races ahead of time, consistently executes, and says ‘good-bye’ to distractions and negative thoughts.”
On the boys side, West Salem junior Jack Meier has the best time in the conference at 15:08.3, a personal record he ran Oct. 8 at Nike Hole in the Wall XC Invitational.
Meier finished third in the MVC championships last season.
“I think I have improved this season by changing how I approach races. I don’t get as nervous now when I think about races,” Meier said. “Now I get excited that I get the chance to go compete and run with some of the fastest people in the nation, and this has made me feel more relaxed in races and run faster times as well.”
West Salem as a team has the six fastest boys in the CVC this season in terms of season-best times.
“My goal for the district meet is to go help my team win the conference championship however I can,” Meier said. “And keep the momentum we’ve built up over the season going all the way into the state meet.”
Central Valley Conference (6A)
Top girls time: Sara Abbott, Sprague (18:23.2)
Rest of top-5: Nelida Dalgas, North Salem (18:36.7); Gitte Lonigan, West Salem (18:54.1); Avery Meier, West Salem (19:18.7); Jocelyn Schnurbush, McNary (19:25.7).
Top boys time: Jack Meier, West Salem (15:08.3)
Rest of top-5: Brady Bliven, West Salem (15:25.3); Logan Schwartz, West Salem (15:44.0); Isaac McDonald, West Salem (16:10.8); Garrett Fenske, West Salem (16:11.0)
Mid-Willamette Conference (5A)
Top girls time: Emily Wisniewski, Crescent Valley (17:42.8)
Local girls in top-10: 3. Kelsey Rodli, Dallas (19:07.2)
Top boys time: Kanoa Blake, Crescent Valley (15:17.8)
Local boys in top-10: 4. Ty Cirino, Central (16:31.5); 5. JD Arthur, Silverton (16:42.6); 8. Quinton Powell, Silverton (17:11.6)
Oregon West Conference (4A)
Top girls time: Adele Beckstead, Philomath (19:16.3)
Local girls in top-10: 2. Haley Butenschoen, Stayton (20:03.1); 5. Hope Bridge, Stayton (20:34.6); 10. Makaila Kuenzi, Cascade (21:56.7)
Top boys time: Mateo Candanoza, Philomath (16:08.7)
Local boys in top-10: 7. Ethan Kuntz, Cascade (17:58.8)
District 2 boys (3A)
Top time: Benjamin Bourne, Santiam Christian (15:43.2)
Locals in top-10: 6. Brennan Hake, Amity (18:04.7)
District 2 girls (3A/2A/1A)
Top time: Daisy Lalonde, East Linn Christian (18:36.6)
Locals in top-10: 2. Kalkidan Ellis, Western Christian (20:31.3); 3. Yulissa Chavez Cortez, Kennedy (20:56.4); 4. Athena Lau, Scio (21:05.7); 6. Clara Persons, Regis (21:22.0); 9. Nora Brenden, Kennedy (22:02.3); 10. Averie Peterson, Santiam (22:07.3)
District 2 boys (2A/1A)
Top time: Luke Ellis, Western Christian (17:43.3)
Locals in top-10: 6. Noah Lutz, Blanchet (18:47.4); 7. Jeremiah Traeger, Kennedy (19:10.1); 8. Donnell Yazzie, Chemawa (19:19.1); 9. Jose Cruz, Willamina (19:20.3); 10. Ian Martinez, Western Christian (19:40.9)
District cross country schedule
Central Valley Conference (6A): Set for Oct. 26 at Bush’s Pasture Park.
Mid-Willamette Conference (5A): Set for Oct. 29 at Willamette Mission State Park in Brooks.
Oregon West Conference (4A): Set for Oct. 29 at Philomath High School.
District 2 boys (3A): Set for Oct. 27 at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon.
District 2 girls (3A/2A/1A): Set for Oct. 27 at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon.
District 2 boys (2A/1A): Set for Oct. 27 at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon.