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Coquille's Dieu covers course in record time.

Byline: Steve Mims The Register-Guard

Holli Dieu was the fastest girl in the state on Saturday.

Now the Coquille junior is the fastest girl in Class 3A history after winning the OSAA cross country championship in 18 minutes, 18 seconds at Lane Community College. Dieu beat the record of 18:33 set by Philomath's Brianna Anderson-Gregg last year.

"That's what I was shooting for, so I'm excited," Dieu said.

Dieu's time is the third fastest winning time in state history regardless of classification. Bend's Kimber Mattox won the 4A race in 18:19.

Dieu ran the first mile in 5:30 and was by herself for most of the race.

"I did what I wanted to do," Dieu said. "I wanted to go out hard and run a fast first mile and I did that. At the start, everyone was next to me but then we hit the mud right away and a lot of girls slowed down and I picked it up. On the track at the end, I was really pushing hard."

Dieu finished 21 seconds ahead of runner-up Ilsa Paulson of Sherwood. The sophomore was primarily a basketball player last season, but said she is now focused on running.

"I was running sprints on the track for basketball and the cross country coach saw me and said he thought I would do well at cross country," Paulson said. "I like to run, so I went out for cross country and I've loved it ever since."

Siuslaw won its first-ever girls team title with 71 points. The Vikings, who placed second last season, finished 57 points ahead of runner-up North Bend.

"This team has a lot of experience for a young team," Siuslaw coach Chris Johnson said.

"To have four runners back after finishing second, it helps having been through that. Last year we were five points away and happy with second place, but it did not sit as well as they wanted it to."

Sophomore Leah Twombly led the way in 11th place at 20:00. Kaylee Gruber was 14th, while Jennifer Hague, Sierra Lee, and Mercedes Smith all finished in the top 23.

"It means a lot," Twombly said. "The team title was really our goal this season, it was what we worked for. Everyone kept it in the back of their head."

Siuslaw was also given the Academic All-State Award for girls cross country with a combined grade point average of 4.0.

"Those are good kids, they listened and bought in," Johnson said. "It means a lot to me that good people came through like that when it matters most."

Megan Hibner finished fourth for North Bend, and Ally Romanko and Jessianne Heley were 10th and 12th, respectively. Elmira's Lauren Zaludek was fifth.

Marist, which was led by Meghan Whalen's 21st-place finish, earned a trophy by placing fourth at 157.

Mattox won the 4A title in her first appearance at state. The sophomore won the Intermountain Conference title last year but allowed teammate Sarah Wrightman to replace her at state.

"This was very exciting," Mattox said. "It was nerve-wracking and an amazing feeling to come to state."

Mattox also plays soccer and was on the field in Bend's 3-2 overtime victory over Milwaukie on Friday.

"I felt fine today," Mattox said. "I had a lot of fluids."

Claire Michel of Clackamas finished second in 18:48.

Sheldon's Casey Masterson was fourth in 19:00 after finishing 11th last season. The sophomore draped herself in a foil blanket given to the top 10 finishers to stay warm before the awards ceremony.

"That wasn't very fun," Masterson said. "It was hard. I was happy with my finish because I got one of those foil blankets I wanted last year."

Masterson helped the Irish finish second in the team race with 126 points, while Jesuit won with 68. Heather Spinney of Sheldon finished 22nd, and Carly Bradshaw was 42nd as the Irish earned the best finish in school history.

"It was a team effort; each girl passed somebody on the track," Sheldon coach Chris Yorges said. "This is a great accomplishment for a great group of athletes and friends. We have been through every obstacle this year in terms of injuries and health, so to come together at the end of the season and have this experience is as good as it gets."

South Eugene placed fourth at 163. Senior Erin Gray, who won the state title as a sophomore, led the Axemen by finishing 27th in 19:54.

Krista Stangel of Enterprise won the 2A/1A title in 19:12. Defending champion Jolee Van Leuven of Catlin Gabel was second at 19:35.

"I'm so excited I can't describe it," Stangel said. "I knew Jolee would be tough, and she pushed me all the way. I wanted to get out fast and hold on at the end. Make sure I had enough left and I felt great."

Heather Ryan of Central Linn finished 13th to help the Cobras finish second to Catlin Gabel in the team race. Catlin Gabel had 74 points, and Central Linn finished with 84.

Myrtle Point's Nyika Corbett and Lacy Looney finished fourth and sixth, respectively, to help the Bobcats finish third with 97 points.

CAPTION(S):

Coquille's Holli Dieu legs out the final meters on her way to the state Class 3A cross country title.
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Title Annotation:Sports; Siuslaw wins Class 3A girls title, Sheldon takes second place in Class 4A race
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 7, 2004
Words:894
Previous Article:Siuslaw gets past Banks to advance.
Next Article:Feedback brings with it finer moments.


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