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New coach, Carter Spear takes over the Culver High School Bulldogs cross country program for the 2019 season.

STEELE HAUGEN - Culver cross country runner Evan Powell, center, leads the pack for the new Bulldogs cross country team. 
The Culver Bulldogs cross country program is coming off a relatively strong 2018 season, but will be heading into the fall with a new head coach.

First-time coach Carter Spear replaced Tom Kirk, and Spear is ready for the season. The 28-year-old ran cross country at Nyssa High School, helping Nyssa place second at state his senior year.

"This year is my first year coaching," Spear said. "I took over the program from a guy (Kirk) who did it for 10 years, so we are just out here having fun. We are building the program up right now, having fun and hopefully we can get more than our 10 kids at this year. You run more with your heart than your legs, so we will get them in shape. That is my philosophy I am working with right now."

"The kids are doing really good," said Spear. "We are a week and a half in and we are putting it all out during every practice. I am really impressed with their heart. We took a Smith Rock run on Monday (Aug. 26) and it was fun to go up Misery Ridge. These are Culver kids, so they know how to work hard."

The boys cross country team took fifth place at districts last year and were one placing away from sending the boys team to state. Spear has similar hopes for the new team.

STEELE HAUGEN - Culver cross country runners Kiana Webb (left middle) and Jasmin Doughtery (right middle) warm-up with the rest of the team before the start of practice. Webb and Doughtery both finished in the top 50 at the district race last season.
"It would be great if we can make some noise at district this year," Spear said. "I don't think they have had anyone in the last several years go to state, so it would be great as a whole team to go. If not, hopefully we can get one or two individuals to go."

Returning this year for the Bulldogs are girls team runners Kiana Webb and Jasmin Dougherty. They both finished in the top 50 at districts in the 2018 season. Coach Spear is pushing both the girls and guys for a strong year.

"We have some returners coming back," said Spear. "Watch out for Jake Horat and up-and-coming Evan Powell. They had some good times last year and are doing some damage and working hard out here."

Culvers starts their season competing in the Ultimook race, in Tillamook, competing against 72 other schools on the Oregon Coast. The Bulldogs first local meet is at the Madras White Buffalo XC Invitational at Juniper Hills Park, Saturday, Sept. 28.

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