Cascade Invitational: Balazs Wins Her First Race, Mountainside Shines, Draeger Represents 2A In The Top 10

Turner — Cascade High School hosted their annual Darrel Deedon Cascade Invitational cross country meet in Turner on Thursday, boasting 28 teams to participate in the 2021 edition of the event. With the heavy favorites residing from the 6A Metro League, there wasn’t much to surprised about at the very top, but there were some takeaways from the event on Thursday.

Sunset’s Kailua Balazs Wins Her First Race

A week ago in Wilsonville, Balazs took second in the freshman race behind Ansley Johnston of South Eugene. On Thursday, she won her first career race for the Apollos, finishing five seconds ahead of Mountainside’s Zoe Heino and teammate Paige Wiley. Balazs was the subject of a highlight in my race preview before Wilsonville, having been a phenomenal athlete in her last competitive season as a 7th grader. While the win came a week late, Balazs has proven in her first two career meets that she is a valuable asset for the Apollos as a freshman, and she can only continue to blossom as she goes on.

The Mavericks Dominate In Turner

Mountainside came into the meet as a favorite alongside Sunset to win in Turner, but the Mavericks left no doubt on who performed the best on Thursday. Out of the seven runners in the varsity race, Mountainside recorded four of them in the top ten and every runner finished in the Top 14. While they didn’t win the race, their team performance was easily enough to win the meet over Sunset, who finished with three of the top four runners, but only one more made it in the Top 15. Its a strong start for Mountainside, who look to climb up the 6A food chain in 2021.

Draeger Represents The Smallest Schools

In a meet crowded with 6A and 5A girls, one sophomore found herself in the thick of the top runners on Thursday. Delaney Draeger, who represents 2A Vernonia, finished in 8th and was one of two small schools that finished in the Top 12 along with Elmira’s Alyssa Johnson. Its a good start for the sophomore, who took 11th at the 3A/2A/1A State Championships on April 10th and is looking to build on her success as a freshman for Vernonia. If her teammate Sadie Gump can find her footing for her final dance as a senior, they can become a strong duo for the Loggers.

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