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With two races in the books, Evan Powell and Olivia Rydman are at the head of Culver's pack

ANDY DIECKHOFF/MADRAS PIONEER - Evan Powell, a Culver senior, has been leading the Bulldogs' boys cross country team so far this fall.Now that Culver cross country has raced in two events, senior Evan Powell and sophomore Olivia Rydman are distancing themselves as leaders of the Bulldogs' packs. After finishing the Culver 2-Mile Time Trial with a team-high and personal-best time, Powell was also the team's top finisher at the recent Ultimook Race at Hydrangea Ranch in Tillamook. Rydman was Culver's fastest runner on the girls' side in both races, too.

With the finish line in his sights, Culver's Evan Powell overtook Kaden Lorimor of La Pine to finish in third place with a time of 12 minutes and three seconds in the boys' race at the Culver 2-Mile Time Trial on Tuesday, Aug. 31. Rydman's time of 14:47 was good for fourth place among the girls.

The event, which marked the beginning of the new cross country season for the Bulldogs, provided a promising glimpse at the program. The course itself began on the CHS football field and created a meandering loop around the baseball diamonds, practice fields and the parking lot at the Culver Athletic Complex. The race, which has become an annual tradition at the school, got back on track after being canceled last season.

"It's a great way to get some practice in before the official meets start," said Culver coach Carter Spear, who coaches both the boys' and girls' teams at CHS. In addition to his coaching duties, Spear was also the master of ceremonies at the event, guiding athletes and spectators alike and announcing the winners over the P.A. system at the end of the race.

Spear also looked forward to what the Tillamook race would bring for his teams.

"That race is all about team-building," he said. "We camp overnight. There are beach activities. It's a lot of fun."

During the Ultimook Race, Powell recorded a team-best time of 19:19 to place 29th in the boys' 1A-4A race, out of 158 competitors. Following him were Bulldog runners Troy Potampa (21:10), Aiden Guest (22:02), Debren Sanabria (22:06), Hudson Burgi (23:11), Trent Reese (28:18) and Julian Sanabria (30:21). Culver recorded an official team score of 260 at the event, placing them 12th out of the 19 qualifying schools. Philomath had the highest team score, registering 69 points thanks in part to Brody Bushnell, who finished just two-tenths of a second ahead of Heppner's Trevor Nichols to win the race.

ANDY DIECKHOFF/MADRAS PIONEER` - Culver sophomore Olivia Rydman, right, has been the fastest finisher on the girls' side in both races so far.In the other race, Rydman hit her stride once more, finishing 28th in the girls' 1A-4A heat with a time of 24:13. Hers was the best time for the Bulldogs, followed by ninth-grader Audry Rake (27:30). Payton Peterson (33:33), Ariana Jeffery (33:41) and Jasmine Dougherty (33:42) rounded things out for the team, which registered a team score of 265 to take last place among the 11 qualifying teams.

The Bulldogs race again on Thursday at the Canyon Rumble in Redmond. The races begin at 4:30 p.m.

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