By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
September 27, 2006
Some people might think that they are crazy. But the Hood River Valley runners spending the night in old army barracks and then slogging through mud in Seaside did not want to be doing anything else last weekend.
“Some athletes come out for XC just for this weekend,” Coach Kristen Uhler said of the team’s experience.
In between a spaghetti feed dinner, a dance, and trekking to the Oregon coast, the runners did find time to race.
The course was divided up into easy-“white”, medium-“blue”, and hard-“red” courses, and the runners drew to decide who would run which race.
The easy course was just over two miles and Hood River runners Melissa Kaufmann and Boo Lucas finished the course 10th and 44th overall, respectively out of 499 runners. On the boys side, Leo Castillo finished first out of the 440 runners.
The moderate race, featured 334 runners for the girls and 416 on the boys side. Catherine Kiyokawa finished in 46th place for the girls, and Alissa Logsden finished in 82nd place and covered in mud and sand after taking a dive into the mud hole that was integrated into the course.
For the boys, Frank Zartler was the top finisher with a 74th place finish.
In the hard race, 503 boys and 326 girls slogged through a course featuring a 30 foot long by 10 foot wide mud pit. On the girls side Erin Jones battled through illness to finish 1th overall, while Kelsey Griffith and Hillary Hilden finished 92nd and 115th overall respectively.
For the boys Alex Van Slyke placed 67th overall.
For many runners the highlight of the day was where they finished in the race but the journey itself.
“It was a blast,” Brandon Nakamura said of the mud pit on the course. “We had an awesome time running through the middle of it and splashing the crowd all along the edges.”
Kaufmann, who kept a log of the team’s trip to the coast, wrote about the girls team’s third place overall finish, saying:
“I know our team is proud of this accomplishment since we up from division three to division two running one of the hardest divisions in Oregon. We are now running against the best of the best.”