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By René Ferrán  

Makena Houston is used to running alone.

The Columbia Christian senior is the only girl in the program, meaning she ran as an individual at every cross country meet and a lone wolf at every track meet.

So, it didn’t bother her to have to push the pace with no one beside her Thursday afternoon in the Class 2A girls 3,000 meters at the OSAA track and field championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.

She had one goal in mind — breaking the meet record of 10 minutes, 22.25 seconds, set by Sailor Hutton of Bandon in 2015.

“I didn’t care what time I ran as long as the meet record was broken,” Houston said after doing just that, running a personal-best 10:11.99 that moved her to No. 2 on the all-time 2A list.

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“I didn’t want to get ahead of myself by being like, I’m gonna run a 9:30 or whatever. I just wanted to keep my goals simple and achievable, something I could focus on and not get too caught up in anything else.”

Houston won the 2A culminating-week title last spring but was disappointed by her time and the atmosphere of the event. She came to Hayward hoping “it would be everything people said it would be, and it was. The energy of it, it is just a magical place. The turnout here was incredible. It was encouraging to finally feel validated in some kind of way.”

Houston, who won the 3A/2A/1A cross country title in the fall, will double up in the 1,500 on Saturday evening, then start training for the next step in her career — she committed to the College of Idaho this spring.