Hood River Valley High School cross country jump-started its fall running season Thursday evening at the Wilsonville Night Race. As a 3K instead of the regular 5K distance, the race is a good opportunity for teams to measure their early season speeds, called “date-pace,” to base workouts on as they prepare for the regular season.
With 46 teams from 1A to 6A in attendance, the event is also a chance for teams to see how they measure up against many others from across the state that they won’t see until the OSAA championships Nov. 2 in Eugene.
“Our goal was to get out fast and get a good first mile time so we can base our workouts on each runner’s date-pace,” coach Kristin Uhler explained. “Only the kids who attended daily doubles last week or trained during the summer were allowed to race, and we raced so much better than last year. We have more depth and experience, although we have some work to do with our new runners in terms of warm-up and warm-down.”
The highest placer on the team was sophomore Sascha Bockius (11:03), who finished fourth against what Uhler called one of the best fields of female distance runners in Oregon's history. Senior Ricardo Castillo (9:25) finished highest for the boys at 13th.
Behind Bockius, Sophia Marble — also on the HRVHS varsity soccer team — finished 24th, Daisy Dolan finished seventh in the freshman field, Madison Freeman was 38th in the junior field, Lauren Robinson was 22nd against sophomores and Kailee McGeer and Althea Dillon were 48th and 55th in the senior category. Uhler said senior team captain Grace Grim sat the race out to be cautious while she continues recovering from a leg injury.
On the boys side, Castillo’s time was a personal record, while Justin Crosswhite, Quinn Fetkenhour, Nils Engbersen, Jorge Cuevas, Carlos Chiarez and Torbjoern Joerstad represented HRV’s top seven boys. Joerstad, a senior, is new to the team as an exchange student from Norway.
“Our next race is the Pendleton Rodeo Dress-Up run, then we do a training work-out on the district course at McKay Park in Pendleton,” Uhler explained. “It's essential to train/race on the district course so we can visualize and prepare mentally and physically for the all-important district meet, where the top two teams and seven individuals qualify for the state meet.”
The team’s schedule continues next week with the only home meet of the season, the Hood River Invitational Sept. 11. Middle school action begins at 3 p.m. and varsity at 4 p.m. starting and finishing at Henderson Community Stadium.