October 26, 2005
The Indian Creek Trail is covered with leaves, ranging in color from chocolate brown to pumpkin orange. The stretch next to Hood River Valley High School is particularly pretty this time of year, and as the Eagles’ cross country team runs in unison upstream, they stir up the leaves like a car tearing down a country road.
The faded colors signify an end to the high school running season, and for many of the Eagles cross country runners, the end will come this weekend in Prineville during the Intermountain Conference district meet.
A team of 35 runners will make the trip down to Crook County High School for districts. Seven boys and seven girls will run varsity and the rest junior varsity, on a course known to be grassy, flat and fast. The top two teams and the top seven individual runners in each district qualify for the state meet, to be held next weekend at Lane Community College. Melissa Kauffman is the only runner on the young Eagles team with state experience, as she qualified last season with a seventh place finish at districts.
For the varsity boys, standout runner Leo Castillo will have the best shot at state as an individual runner. Castillo has finished first in several meets this season and is looking focused and poised on the trails this week. The varsity girls have a few state hopefuls, and a decent chance of qualifying as a team. Hermiston high school currently poses the biggest threat, as they are ranked one of the top teams in the state.
The Eagles are putting the final touches on their physical and mental strategies before the weekend. And on the leaf-cushioned trails by Indian Creek, they take one last run together as a team.
Good luck at districts:
Boys: Leo Castillo, Kevin Dye, Alex Vanslyke, Carlos Quintana, Anthony Walden, Juan Zuniga, Gary Thompson, Dylan Tiss, Joel Miller, Jeromy Davis, Don Valentine, Jonathan Ing, Ted Ostreye, Max Watson, Jordan Phillips, Jonathan Love, David Grossrode, Eli Camero and Frank Zartler.
Girls: Erin Jones, Melissa Kauffman, Hillary Hilden, Melissa Princehouse, Brisa Jessup, Kelsey Griffith, Jenna Fisher, Jolie Hobbs, Elizabeth Reyes, Jennifer Jefferies, Kylee Straughton, Elise Byers, Kaytlin Hughes and Jennifer Hanners.