OREM — With the boys race decided by a tenth of a second and a top girls finisher disqualified, the Region 7 cross country championships played out in dramatic fashion Tuesday at Scera Park.
Mountain View swept both the boys and girls team titles; the first-place finish by the Bruin boys marks the 21st consecutive year that Mountain View has won a region crown in boys cross country.
Orem senior Tim Rowberry ran 14:20.9 to win the boys race. Rowberry trailed Mountain View's Alden Bahr most of the way, but then pulled ahead of and out-kicked Bahr on the homestretch to win by a tenth of a second.
"I just tried to stay with Alden (Bahr) the whole time," said Rowberry. "My favorite part of the race is kicking, so I tried as hard as I could the last 100 meters."
The Bruins placed all five of their scored runners in the top nine to overcome Orem's three runners in the top five and beat the Tigers 29-44.
"We knew Orem was pretty solid," said Mountain View coach Dave Houle. "We just wanted to come in and run together as a pack."
Heidi Houle propelled Mountain View to the other team title by winning the girls race in 16:28. Houle led point-to-point and ran strong enough in the last mile to pull away from the pack and distance herself from Timpanogos' Vanessa Hawkins, the second-place finisher in 16:44.
"I tried to pace better today and not go out so fast," said Houle. "It seemed to work. I did pick-ups every corner. It added up slowly, but it worked."
Led by freshman Krystal Harper's apparent third-place finish, Orem was in line to finish second in the girls team standings. A race official, however, disqualified Harper because a non-racer ran alongside her for more than two paces.
"(Harper) got disqualified because the official said her brother was pacing her," said Orem coach Marie Glahn. "I'm (upset), but since we still finished third we're safe."
The disqualification nearly cost the entire Tiger team its season, because only the top 10 runners and three teams from Region 7 qualify for the state meet Oct. 20 at Sugarhouse Park. But Orem's fourth and fifth runners edged Lone Peak's final two scored racers to secure third place for the Tigers over the Knights, 71-78.