The Hood River Valley boys cross-country team placed third in its division at the Seaside High School Three Course Challenge on Saturday despite the absence of its second and third runners, Matt Cooper and Adam Mack.
"The team performed exceptionally well considering we didn't have our number two or three runners," coach Rich Hedges said. "The kids came home with team medals and a third-place plaque and should be proud of their performance."
Cooper is still battling a foot injury and Hedges is unsure whether he will compete at today's home meet against the Mt. Hood Conference. Mack was with the team, but fell ill and couldn't complete the race.
Four divisions of 60 teams from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California competed at the meet, which consists of three running courses of varied distances and difficulties. HRV competed in the "large school" division, and each runner had to randomly choose his course at the beginning of the day.
HRV totaled 287 points in the large school division, finishing right behind Columbia River of Vancouver, Wash., who had 214 points. Seattle's Bellarmine Prep won top honors with 158 points.
Jess Jennings placed 26th and Alex Jimenez 68th out of 258 runners on the white course; Scott Becker finished 15th and Esteban Avila 30th out of 280 runners on the blue course; and Jon Gehrig took 46th, Chris Jennings 47th, and Eric Avila 52nd out of 321 runners on the red course.
In addition to the third place finish, HRV also won the Class Act award given to schools that help the meet succeed, and most of all, the sport of cross-country. The runners hosted a team from University City High School in San Diego, Calif. at their homes for two nights before the meet as well as Saturday after the meet.
Hedges said it was a great experience for both the HRV and University City runners, and the team looks forward to visiting San Diego for the second leg of the exchange.