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If there's the forming of any in-team rivalry between Corvallis' Katie Gleason and Lilli Day after their 1-2 finish, respectively, last Saturday at their home cross-country invitational, it wasn't evident.

Promptly after finishing the two-lap 5k race, Gleason, who won the race with a time of 21 minutes, 31 seconds, and Day, clocking in at 22:46, joined up to jog around the course and watch the boys' race with smiles on their faces.

"Of course they'd like to do well, but I haven't seen a rivalry," Corvallis coach Joanne Cleveland said of her team's first-place and runner-up finishers. "They spend time together off the track as well.

"When you put in the miles, you can be competitive and when you have someone else with you, it makes it fun."

Fittingly, Cleveland wore a Corvallis T-shirt that said "XC mom" on the back. The Blue Devils have adopted a family atmosphere, and that's not just because Cleveland had her husband taking team pictures Saturday, while Cleveland's parents kept time and wrote results.

Corvallis cross country has grown into something special.

"It's become a whole village," Cleveland said. "There's lots of support from parents and other coaches and it is, it's a lot of fun. They're just a good group of kids, both boys and girls."

And Cleveland has two of the best in Gleason and Day. The girls are both returning all-staters from last year's squad, which took home third-place at the Class A state cross-country meet.

In that race last October, it was Day who finished ahead of Gleason. Day, now a senior, crossed the finish line in 10th with a time of 20:09.41. Gleason, now a junior, finished in 14th at 20:23.59.

The two trained together all offseason and are hoping to repeat — if not improve — on their state success.

"Definitely that's the goal," said Gleason, "to be all-state and see if I can get a little higher up this time."

Added Day, "I want to run consistently," she said. "I'm battling plantar fasciitis, but I want to get in the (19-minute range). It's going to be kind of difficult, but I'll try."

Fortunately the two will have each other pushing one another all season long. And it's a positive encouragement.

The kind you get from family.

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"We get a long really well, but when we're out there running, it can be competitive, but it's good," said Day, of her and Gleason. "We train together winter and summer. 

"...It's nice. It's like a support group. It connects our team."

It's a team, both boys and girls, that looks impressive in the early goings of the 2019 fall season.

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Yes, Gleason and Day finished in first and second-place, respectively, but the Blue Devil girls actually had the first four finishers at the small, four-team race Saturday.

Corvallis' Madison Henry took third, while Rose Day placed fourth. 

"I think we have a good tradition here and I think they'd like to keep it up," Cleveland said. "It's a good group of girls and so it's great to have them all together and working hard and spending time together off the track."

Overall, the Blue Devil girls placed eight in the Top 10. Hamilton's Sarah Passey, in fifth place, and Stevensville's Katlyn Potter (sixth) broke up the Blue Devil barrage.

On the boys' side, Corvallis captured five spots in the Top 10, with Will Flowers' second-place finish the best of the Blue Devils bunch. 

Flowers finished with a time of 17:47, 28 seconds off of Ronan's James Normandeau and his winning pace of 17:19.

"I let (Normandeau) get out in front of me and I just couldn't catch back up with him," Flowers said.

The Flowers-Normandeau matchup should be one to watch all season, too. The two boys finished fifth (Flowers) and sixth (Normandeau) last year at the Class A state meet.

"Oh, I heard him behind me," Normandeau said of Flowers during Saturday's race. "...We have a nice little rivalry. We push off each other."

Perhaps that'll help push each individual — and their teams — to new heights this season.

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