Sport: Cross Country

Class: Junior

Lira won the junior race at the Early Bird Invitational on Saturday, covering the 3-mile course at Toro Park in 18:51. Mountain View's Allison Sturges was second in 19:07. "Morgan had a very simple strategy," Valley Christian cross-country coach Josh Small said. "She likes to push the whole way and stay with the leaders for the first couple miles and then go hard in the last mile and try to win it."

Getting out to a good lead was important for Lira, who was running against Sturges, the defending CCS 1,600-meter champion who is known for her strong finishing kick. "Morgan wasn't the fastest kicker in the race so she pushed real hard in mile 3 to get the lead, and she held on strong in the last mile," Small said.

Lira had the third-fastest time for the day behind a pair of seniors, Rachel Hinds of St. Ignatius (18:00) and Jessie Petersen of Carlmont (18:09).