Fast tracks at Skip Sparks

All HRVHS runners post new personal records durng the Eagles’ only home meet of the season

September 17, 2005

Cross country runners from Hood River, David Douglas, Grant, Barlow, Redmond, The Dalles/Wahtonka, Reynolds and Sandy high schools converged at Henderson Stadium Wednesday afternoon for the annual Skip Sparks Invitational. In all, 364 athletes trampled the trails surrounding Hood River Valley High School during the Eagles’ only scheduled home meet of the season.

Highlights from Hood River runners include: The girls varsity team placing second overall, with runners Melissa Kauffman, Erin Jones, and Ashley Braniff finishing fourth, fifth and seventh out of a field of 49 runners; Leo Castillo sweeping the boys varsity field, finishing first by 30 seconds over the second place runner, the girls junior varsity team finishing second and the boys junior varsity finishing fourth out of nine teams.

The varsity girls ran first. Teams stuck together on the crowded the starting line. With each school’s jerseys a different bright color, the runners, packed tight and itching to go, resembled Skittles spilled from a bag. The gun fired and the Skittles scattered up the first stretch of the course. Five kilometers and 19 minutes 43 seconds later, Hood River’s first runner crossed the finish line in fourth place.

“All the girls raced fabulous,” commented coach Kristin Uhler. “Their self-confidence is building and they are realizing that with consistent, intelligent training they can be competitive on any course at any time. We’re on our way to being one of the elite teams in the state. Every girl ran a personal record yesterday, that’s incredible.”

From a distance, Carlos Quintana’s spiked hairdo marked where the seven Eagles were in the crowd 56 varsity boys on their starting line. Hot off the gun and leading the pack from the first step, sophomore standout Leo Castillo took massive strides up the course’s first hill. Looking like a rabbit being chased by 55 greyhounds at a dog track, Castillo ran hard and didn’t look back. Averaging three, 5:33 miles, Castillo pulled away from the pack after the first mile and finished a few hundred yards ahead of the second place runner.

Quintana sucked it up, sprinted the last 50 yards of the course, and passed a Reynolds runner a couple of feet before the finish line. He finished second for the Hood River in 25th place.

“I felt pretty good,” Castillo said after catching his breath. “I felt I could keep the pace. I knew it was going to come down to the hills.”

“The guy’s a stud,” Coach Rich Hedges said about Castillo. “He ran like he was on a mission. It was a great day for the entire boys team. We ran 20 boys and all 20 posted personal records, most of them by at least 40-seconds. We continue to get better as a team.”

Next up for the Hood River Valley High School cross country team is the New Balance Invitational on Sept. 17.

Team results:

Girls’ varsity (5K, 49 total):

Melissa Kauffman

4th place, 19:40

Erin Jones

5th place, 19:57

Ashley Braniff

7th place, 20:39

Melissa Princehouse

15th place, 21:30

Hillary Hilden

25th place, 22:22

Jenna Fisher

30th place, 23:02

Brisa Jessup

31st place, 23:03

Girls’ varsity team scores:

Redmond 1st, 51 points

Hood River 2nd, 55 points

The Dalles/Wahtonka

3rd, 94 points

Boys’ varsity (5K, 56 total):

Leo Castillo

1st place, 16:01

Carlos Quintana

25th place, 17:47

Kevin Dye

31st place, 18:06

Alex Vanslyke

40th place, 18:22

Anthony Walden

41st place, 18:26

Boys varsity team scores:

Grant 1st, 44 points

David Dougla 2nd, 63 points

Redmond 3rd, 97 points

Reynolds 4th, 107 points

Hood River 6th, 138 points

Girls’ JV highlights (3K, 117 total):

Janne Lucas- 5th, 23:22

Jennifer Jefferies- 9th, 4:01

Jolie Hobbs- 17th, 24:40

Kaitlyn Hughes 19th, 24:46

Elise Byers 29th, 25:15

Girls’ JV team scores:

Summit- 1st, 43 points

Hood River 2nd, 71 points

Boys’ JV highlights (5K, 142 total):

Juan Zuniga 20th, 19:18

Jon Ing 22nd, 19:27

Eli Camero 29th, 19:46

Joel Miller 31st, 19:49

Logan Davis 33rd, 19:55

Boys’ JV team scores:

Reynolds 1st, 35 points

Grand 2nd, 40 points

Redmond 3rd, 91 points

Hood River 4th, 105 points

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