Runners steadily improving times
Crook County may not have finished high in the team standings at Saturday's Oxford Classic Cross Country race, but both runners and coaches were pleased with the team's performance.
"I am seeing, not across the board, but a lot of these kids are improving significantly," said Crook County head coach Nate Ditton. "Our top runners are improving, but so are our bottom runners, so that is just showing me that everyone is working hard."
The Cowgirls finished in sixth place in the 10-team girls race, while the Cowboys were 10th in the 14-team boys race.
Summit easily won the girls race with a score of 16 points, while Hermiston was second with 59 points, and Ashland finished third with 76 points. Rounding out the girls scoring were Bend, 116, Klamath Union, 124, Crook County, 193, Hidden Valley, 206, Napa Christian, 224, Redmond, 237, and Henley, 240.
Summit edged South Medford to win the boys race. The Storm finished with 40 points, while South Medford was a single point behind with 41. Rounding out the boys scoring were Mountain View, 86, Bend, 141, Hermiston, 166, Nampa Christian, 166, Sisters, 176, Hidden Valley, 183, Klamath Union, 244, Crook County, 301, Ridgeview, 308, Redmond, 325, Henley, 354, and Mazama, 359.
Summit's Ella Thorsett edged teammate Magdalene Williams to win the girls race with times of 18:25.55 and 18:25.93 respectively. Summit's Pyton Finney came away with third place in 19:11.12, while teammate Ashley Boone was fourth with a time of 19:11.47. Ashland's Grace Yaconelli finished fifth with a time of 19:18.27.
The first Crook County runner was freshman Patagonia Carne, who finished 39th with a time of 22:36.78. She was followed by junior McCall Woodward, who finished 40th with a time of 22:36.85.
Next in for the Cowgirls was senior Elise Rice, who finished 42nd with a time of 22:45.60.
Rounding out the scoring for the Cowgirls were junior Anne Carne, who finished 63rd with a time of 24:30.83 and sophomore Kattalin Urrest, 74th in 26:25.61. Also running for the Cowgirls, but not counting in the team scoring, was freshman Sawyer McDonald, who finished 75th in a time of 26:28.71.
The boys race was won by Grady Mylander of Nampa Christian with a time of 15:24.31. He was followed close behind by South Medford's Michael Majorano with a time of 15:25.97. Jackson Keefer, of Summit took third place with a time of 16:00.58, while Ashland's Nathan Stein was fourth with a time of 16:04.99.
Sophomore Gavin Humphreys led the Cowboys, taking 34th overall with a time of 18:10.34.
"The season has been going pretty good," said Humphreys, who transferred into Crook County this year from a school in the Seattle, Washington, area. "I think the whole team has been improving a lot, both girls and boys. There have been a lot of PR's (personal records) happening, especially on this course."
Humphreys added that although he would like to have run faster, the race was a PR for him.
"I wish I could have gone faster, like every runner, but I think I exceeded expectations," he said. "I think everyone did really good today."
Next in for the Cowboys was sophomore Kernan Teasdale, who finished 57th with a time of 19:13.59. He was followed by junior Daniel Olson, 73rd, with a time of 20:16.06, sophomore Aidan Bonner, 75th in 20:31.57, freshman Tanner Joyce, 88th with a time of 21:59.12, and sophomore Logan Brasher, 24:39.75.
Running in the JV race for the Cowboys were Van Williams, 20:04.88, Duke Wentzel, 20:08.22, Anthony Crider, 24:48.30, Ben McWilliams, 26:31.34, and Joshua Belz, 27:47.43.
With continued improvement, Ditton believes that Crook County can be competitive at this year's district meet, which will be held Wednesday, Oct. 27 in Pendleton.
"We've got our eyes on district," he said. "I think the girls have a really great shot, and if we can string some good times together, the guys can have a pretty good shot, too."
Crook County will run again on Saturday when they compete in the Escape the Rock cross country race, which will be held at Fort Rock State Park, southeast of La Pine.
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