December 10, 2005
Hood River Valley High School sophomore and standout cross country runner Leo Castillo hung with the best of the best last weekend at the Western Region Foot Locker Championships. And he came away from the Mt. San Antonio College campus in Walnut, Calif., with a second place finish in his division.
The 27th annual event, which was aired on Fox Sports Net, is big-time in the cross country world and it brings together runners from 12 western states, many of whom are the fastest in the country.
Castillo ran in the boys’ sophomore division, which was stacked with a total of 163 runners. On an extremely hilly 5,000-meter course, Castillo averaged three 5:33 miles for a finish-line time of 17:14; good enough for second place behind the division winner from Federal Way, Wash.
“The race is big time in terms of high school cross country,” commented Coach Kristen Uhler, who accompanied Castillo on the trip. “Most colleges and universities really look at these performances, which was great for Leo because he wants to attend college on a running scholarship.”
As a sophomore, Castillo has two more opportunities to compete at regionals in the top division; the seeded race. The seeded race saw boys’ winner Al Acosta, a senior from Oceanside, average three 5:02 miles for a time of 15:38. Overall, Castillo finished 140th out of 1,357 high school boys.
“We’re planning on taking a group down next year,” Uher commented. “It motivates the runners to look beyond just the district and state meets and it will be a reward for the dedicated athletes.”