Team unity shows as girls XC wins again

Each varsity runner set a 5K personal record in the Sept. 26 home meet as the HRV girls cross-country team extended its undefeated conference record against Gresham and Parkrose.

Christy Paul set a blistering pace and broke the 18-minute mark for the first time this season to lead the Eagles past Gresham 21-36.

Laurissa Pennington, Emily Meyer and Suni Davis finished third through fifth, while Allison Byers placed eighth to secure the victory.

In the other dual meet against Parkrose, HRV earned the top seven spots for a perfect score of 15. Kristen Hedges and Jessica Adams, who each broke the 22-minute mark for the first time this season, rounded out the sweep.

"These times are all huge PR's for us," coach Kristen Uhler said. "The girls are really pushing each other to get better and it's made for some great individual and team results."

PIL Conference representatives Franklin, Cleveland and Grant also competed at the meet, but their times were kept separate from Mt. Hood Conference teams.

Grant, a state championship hopeful, took third, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth in the overall standings and has exemplified the meaning of the word team -- something Uhler has stressed to her runners all season.

"Running against a team as strong as Grant each week has really made us faster," Uhler said. "Our goal for this meet was to break up their pack. Our girls were really trying to keep the pressure on Grant, and it showed in their times."

Uhler was especially impressed with the performance of Davis, who battled back and forth with Meyer -- the team's number three runner -- the entire race to finish with a personal best time of 20:58.

"Suni is an enormous talent and an extremely hard worker," Uhler said. "She's just now getting in shape and is starting to keep Emily, Allison and Laurissa on their toes."

Four HRV runners finished in under 21 minutes, and three were just over that mark, combining for the most consistent team performance so far this year. Times were as follows: Paul 17:52; Pennington 20:35; Meyer 20:55; Davis 20:58; Byers 21:22, Hedges 21:34; Adams 21:43; and Chelsea Nance 24:56.

Uhler said Paul's time would win almost every meet in the state at this point in the season.

"17:52 is an elite time. Anything between 18 and 19 minutes will win most meets, but Christy is running one minute faster than everyone in the state right now," Uhler said.

The junior varsity team also continued to improve personal best times Wednesday on the 3,000-meter course. Jenny Villagomez took sixth overall with a time of 13:36, while Caitlin Becker finished close behind in ninth at 13:49.

Joyce Yang came in at 14:53, followed by Jillian Jones (15:32), Stephanie Delgado (15:48), Fae Haglund (15:50) and Raemi Lucas (17:09).

Both the varsity and JV teams will compete at Sandy Union High School on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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