Prairie, Meri and Luke.
That was the story Thursday at the Class 3A district cross country championship at Hudson’s Bay.
Meri Dunford cruised to victory in the girls race, winning in 19 minutes, 4 seconds. Mountain View’s Jasmine Bates was second in 19:56.
Other than a few big meets, Dunford has grown accustomed to running alone in meets.
“It’s definitely harder,” Dunford said. “I think it’s easier running in a pack because you can kind of turn your brain off and just go with everybody. So mentally, it’s a little bit harder. But remember that my team needs me to get the win today to fuel me.”
Led by Dunford, Prairie earned the team title, beating out runner-up Kelso 44-57. Mountain View was third with 79 points followed by Fort Vancouver with 80.
Fort’s Dhamar Campos was third overall in 20:46, followed by Prairie’s Lauren Sautter (20:58) and Fort’s Dani Buttrell.
The boys wasn’t nearly as close as Prairie placed its entire scoring five in the top nine to easily beat Mountain View 26-57 for the team title. Kelso was third at 61, followed by Fort at 103.
Lund led the way for the Falcons, winning in 16:37. Kelso’s Drew Norman was second at 17:08, followed by Prairie’s Landon Gunter (17:13), Mountain View’s Mason Wrede (17:15) and Branden Chou (17:15).
“We kind of knew that we would do pretty well and have most of the guys in the top 10,” Lund said. “So we just wanted to execute that and prepare of regionals.”
Regionals, as the runners call it, refers to the Westside Classic bi-district meet on Nov. 2 at Chambers Bay near Tacoma.
“I feel good right now,” Dunford said. “We’re starting to peak. It’s peaking season, so I’m excited for regionals. I have some big goals for regionals and state this year.”
Lund added: “Regional is just hold on as best I can. State, honestly, there’s no game plan. It’s just do your best. You’ve already proved yourself. So that’s the fun race. …
“But regionals, this year, we really want to get the guys and girls teams to go to state. That’s our goal. We haven’t done that ever in school history. That would be really cool if we could do that. We were off by one point last year.”