EUGENE — Kela Leamy was overcome with emotion Saturday afternoon as she stood waiting for her time on the winners’ podium.
The Crescent Valley senior was finally where she wanted to be after taking seventh in the 5A girls race at the OSAA cross-country state meet at Lane Community College.
“So much joy,” Leamy said. “It finally clicked today and my training, three years of training, finally clicked. I was so happy that I finally did it.”
She was able to close out the season well despite calf problems, similar to what she dealt with two years ago, setting in and some exhaustion that pushed her to take some time off a few weeks ago.
Leamy, who completed the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course in 19 minutes, 16 seconds, found a new way to race.
“Going hard right from the beginning,” she said. “I’ve never done that before, I’ve never been that ballsy of a person. So I did that today and obviously it worked, so now I know a new strategy.”
Leamy’s finish helped the Raiders take fourth, claiming a team trophy for a top-four placement for the second straight year.
Summit posted a perfect score of 15 for its 10th straight team title. The Storm had five of the top six runners, with a runner competing without a team canceled out of the team scoring.
Early in the season, the Raiders had hoped to challenge Summit for the team title, but it never came to fruition. CV also had to compete without sophomore Sophie Fisher, who was racing strong before an ankle injury kept her from running at state.
The Raiders were third last year after taking seventh in 2015.
“That is definitely a good accomplishment,” Leamy said. “The team has definitely gotten way better since my sophomore year, my first year of cross-country. I’m excited to see where the team will go after I graduate.
“Definitely not what we expected. But it’s all right. We tried our hardest and went out for it. We can still be proud of our results.”
Freshman Sunitha Black, the Mid-Willamette Conference district champion, was second across the line for the Raiders, taking 13th in 19:28.
It was an off day for Philomath sophomore Hannah Hernandez and some disappointment for the Warriors.
Hernandez had hopes to compete for an individual title. She lost contact with the leaders after the first mile and fell back to 28th, finishing in 20:44.
That hurt Philomath’s team chances, but the Warriors would not have received a trophy for a top-four finish had Hernandez been in the top five.
Philomath was seventh with 189 points, 41 back of fourth-place Sisters.
Rivers Nuno was the Warriors' second finisher, taking 42nd in 21:31.
Central Linn junior Jessica Neal was eighth, moving up 14 spots from 2016, when she broke a bone in her knee and didn’t have the season she wanted.
“This year I came back determined that I was going to PR. I think that’s what made the most difference,” said Neal, who finished in 19:48.
Neal set a new PR of 19:18 last month, bettering her previous best by 76 seconds.
Saturday, she held seventh for most of the race but gave up one spot when the race went to the track for the final 300 meters. Sister Jenna Neal was 15th in 20:33.
Taylor Bardell was 23rd in 21:10 to lead East Linn Christian to 11th in the 12-team field.