In cross country, you have to look ahead.
It's a practical reality, when it comes to running muddy corners on the course or knowing which opponents are a few yards ahead and catchable.
It's also conceptual: focusing on what's the team goal for the rest of the season rather than what happened in your last meet.
That said, coach Kristen Uhler is happy with the girls and boys squads' performance in Friday's Hood River Invitational, the sole home meet for the HRVHS Eagles.
But Uhler and her young athletes are looking ahead not just one week, but two.
"I was impressed with the kids,"' Uhler said after the girls finished third behind Hermiston and Cleveland.
Freshmen Fiona Wylde and Jessica DeHart emerged as HRV's front-runners, finishing a close seventh and eighth on Friday. Rhue Buddendeck placed third; that 1-2-3 order matched the girls' first meet, Sept. 10 in Hermiston.
The boys took sixth in the eight-team field, with sophomore Ricardo Castillo leading the squad.
Saturday's meet is the Northwest Classic in Eugene (details below) and on Sept. 30 the Eagles go to The Dalles for the Bridgette Nelson Invite.
"Both the boys and girls are going to have to work hard to beat The Dalles, because they've (boys) now beaten us twice," Uhler said.
"We're trying to get ready for district and state," Uhler said. "We have to get them to learn how to race; how to compete. It's not all about winning this race or that race, or about personal records, but how many people you can beat."
HRV girls had 68 points behind Hermiston at 41 and Cleveland at 51.
Maggie Coleman and Katie Markwick of Hermiston finished one-two to lead Hermiston to the girls first-place finish on a 3K course. Coleman's time was 19:27.09. Jackson Baker of Franklin won in the boys race in a time of 16 minutes, 00.14 seconds.
Hermiston boys won the meet with 39 points followed by Franklin with 45 and Cleveland at 67.
The top six Hood River girls finished in three close pairings, each less than two seconds apart.
Wylde and DeHart finished less than a second apart, with Wylde edging DeHart 21:25.91 to 21:26.55.
"They're learning how to be front-runners," Uhler said of Wylde and DeHart. Rhue Buddendeck and Danae Burke also competed against each other at the finish, at 22:10.99 and 22.12.19 for 14th and 15th.
"Rhue is right there," Uhler said, adding that Burke, the only senior girl in the top seven, "is a fantastic leader and that's what you want: a bunch of some young and hard-working with a little more mature leadership, and that's what the girls have."
HRV's Erika Enriquez edged teammate Alia Burck 23:39.83 to 23:30 for 25th and 26th.
"We have lot of depth and that's what we have going for us on the girls side," said Uhler, noting that Lydia Gildehaus, a second team all-league runner last year, has joined the squad after two weeks of illness.
Uhler said the boys are still building up endurance along with learning race strategy, and inexperience is a large factor.
"The guys are going to be there," Uhler said. "It's just that we're up against some really hard-working teams. You have to train all summer if you want to be good. Everybody wants to win on race day. It's who wants to win in June, July and August."
Among the boys, Hermiston took the first-place trophy by grouping its top finishers tightly at 3, 6, 7, 10 and 14.
Castillo was Hood River Valley's top finisher, in 16th with a time of 17:21.91. Senior Sage Deenick took 19th in 17:39.77.
HRV junior varsity girls Althea Dillon (22:23.20), Madison Freeman (23:22.41) and Kailee McGreer (23:27.70) earned varsity spots with their 1-2-3 finish.
"What's exciting is our top three JV girls are now on varsity," Uhler said.
In junior varsity results, the boys finished sixth while the girls took second with 49 points to Hermiston's 35.
This weekend, the team will compete at the Northwest Classic in Eugene, giving them a valuable opportunity to learn the state meet course.
"It's a huge advantage if you've already run the state course," Uhler said.
Boys 5K team
The Dalles-Wahtonka 120
Hood River Valley 147
HRV boys top seven
Ricardo Castillo, 16 17:21.91
Sage Deenik, 19 17:39.77
Jorge Cuevas, 30 18:12.75
Miguel Cuevas, 37 18:42.87
Nils Engbersen, 45 19:04.73
Sean Crompton, 48 19:14.33
Ryan Colesar, 52 20:11.32
Girls 5K team
Hood River Valley 68
The Dalles-Wahtonka 126
HRV girls top seven
Fiona Wylde, 8 21:25.91
Jessica DeHart, 9 21:26.55
Rhue Buddendeck, 14 22:10.99
Danae Burck, 15 22:12.19
Erika Enriquez, 25 23:39.83
Alia Burck, 26 23:40.16
Karen Yoshida, 35 24:19.59