Unique race starts strange season for the Crook County High School cross country team

LON AUSTIN - Ilex Vail splashes through the stream during the Sisters event Oct. 30. Vail was one of six Cowboy runners to take part in the relay along with four Cowgirls. CCHS will host several teams Wednesday in a 5K race at Barnes Butte trail system.

Fall athletics are back — just not in the way that you would expect.

Normally, this past week, the Crook County High School cross country team would have run a relay race as part of the tune-up for district and then state meets.

The team did run a relay on Friday, but it was anything but a tune-up for district. Instead, it was the first meet of the year for both the Cowboys and Cowgirls.

Running on a course in Sisters, along with teams from Redmond, Philomath and Klamath Union, Crook County finished somewhere in the middle of the pack.

However, this race wasn't about time or finishing results. It was just about finally getting to compete after practicing all summer. With COVID regulations pausing all sports competition until much later than normal in the school year, any race was better than no race.

"It was so refreshing to see the kids compete today," Crook County head coach Orrie Gonzalez said. "Really enjoyed seeing everyone get on the line and go head to head with other schools. Everyone ran great and was able to get out on a true cross country course complete with a creek crossing."

No results were posted for the meet, which featured teams that could be either male, female or mixed. Teams of four raced with the first runner running 3.2 miles, the next two runners completing 2-mile runs, and the final runner racing for just a mile.

Alex Vail, Tucker Bonner, Daniel Olson, Gabe Rothenbucher, Ben McWilliams and Jacob Mckinnon were the Cowboys to run in the race, while Cowgirls Kelcie Ames, Lindsey Mode, Aubrey Love and Anne Carne also ran.

No times were posted for the race, but a team from Sisters was the easy winner.

Crook County is back in action on Wednesday when they host several teams in a traditional 5K race at the Barnes Butte trail system. Racing is scheduled to begin with the girls race kicking off at 3 p.m. and the boys race to follow at 3:30 p.m.

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