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The Madras cross country team has districts on Oct. 24 in Estacada and Culver on Oct. 25 in Lebanon.

LON AUSTIN - Jesse McDonald runs in the Madras Invitational in this photo.The Madras cross country team has districts on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Estacada. The team is excited and ready to go.

"The season has been great," Madras head cross country coach Andrew Jensen said. "We were able to get 27 kids out. We are growing the team and culture right now. We have redefined what success looks like for us this year. It is not in the traditional win-loss, but just getting better each week. Overall, it has been very positive and hopefully, we can carry this on to next year."

"The team would like to see top three for boys and girls for districts," he said. "Vanessa Culps and Hunter Fitts have a chance to be top three and we would be super stoked for that."

"We have an athlete, Tyriek Ramsey, who came out for his first year doing cross country and he is blowing it out of the water," said Jensen. "He is not necessarily your typical runner, but has been working very hard for us; so has Vanessa Culps. Overall, the kids have been doing awesome — not from a result standpoint, but just getting better everyday."

The Culver cross country team has their district meet on Thursday, Oct. 25, in Lebanon. They had 15 athletes compete this year — the most they have seen in years. The Bulldogs were able to run with both a full boys and girls team this season.

"It has been a really gratifying season for me," head Culver cross country coach Tom Kirk said. "I am amazed how hard they work at every practice. They do everything I ask them to do and literally run to the point of exhaustion in meets."

"For some of them," he continued, "this is the first sport they have ever done and the way they go out there and run courageously, with people that have been doing this for four years, is awesome."

"For districts I am hoping that the athletes relax, run hard and run the best race of their life," he said. "I could not ask for anything more. They improved every race this year. To say each runner was able to progress means they were able to take a step forward and work hard."

"We might have a shot at making state for the first time in about 13 years," Kirk said. "I told the team, this was in reach."

The team has several freshmen who are working hard — Brayden Macy, Evan Powell, Troy Potampa and Jasmine Doughtery — according to Kirk. "They push each other and compete for the top spots on the team and lead the way. Junior Austin Williams has made really good gains this year. Kianna Webb and Mikayla Haessler have also been in it to win it."

"Erick Vega, Macy and Powell are in striking distance to be in the top at districts," he said. "It is very possible with the way they are practicing and running right now."

"I really want to thank the MADras runners club for sponsoring the team," Kirk said. "A lot of things would not have been possible without them."

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