One was already an established star in high school cross country striving for new heights; the other two were fresh on the scene.
Silverton High senior Maddie Fuhrman, South Salem freshman Anna Chau and Sprague freshman Ginger Murnieks are the finalists for the All-Mid-Valley girls cross country runners of the year.
The athlete of the year will be announced at the first Mid-Valley Sports Awards banquet June 7 at the Salem Convention Center.
Fuhrman reached new levels this season.
She set a personal record at the 5,000-meter distance of 18:05.2 – her previous PR was 18:49.9 – she won her first Mid-Willamette Conference district championship and placed a personal-best fifth at the OSAA Class 5A state cross country meet.
Already a standout at the youth levels, Chau made an immediate impact on the high school cross country scene.
She was running low 18-minute 5,000-meter races early in the season then brought the wow-factor by winning the Greater Valley Conference district meet in a stunning 17:53.21 and followed that up by placing fourth in the OSAA Class 6A state cross country meet in 18:35.
Not only was Murnieks an unknown in high school cross country, it was unknown if she would run cross country.
Also a starter on Sprague’s girls soccer team, she put down blazing fast times in the six cross country meets – out of the 11 on Sprague’s schedule – in which she competed.
She set a personal record of 18:03.92 in placing second at the Greater Valley Conference district meet then placed 14th at the 6A state meet in 19:03.
Here’s a look at the entire Statesman Journal All-Mid-Valley girls cross country team.
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6701 or Twitter.com/bpoehler
School: South Salem
District result: Greater Valley Conference champion (17:53.21).
State result: Fourth at Class 6A state meet (18:35).
School: West Salem
District result: Third in Greater Valley Conference (18:47.92).
State result: 15th in Class 6A state meet (19:05).
District result: Mid-Willamette Conference champion (18:38.14).
State result: Fifth in Class 5A state meet (18:54).
District result: Second in Greater Valley Conference (18:03.92).
State result: 14th in Class 6A state meet (19:03).
School: North Salem
District result: Fourth in Greater Valley Conference (18:51.57).
State result: 17th in Class 6A state meet (19:09).