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The Madras junior tied his personal best over the weekend in Bend, and he's not done yet

PMG PHOTO: LON AUSTIN - Madras High School junior Isaiah Wapsheli, front, has his eyes set on earning a state title for the White Buffalos.After setting a new personal record at the Oxford Classic last weekend, Madras junior Isaiah Wapsheli has his sights aimed at the state championship meet next month.

"I ran a PR, but it wasn't as big of one as I wanted," said Wapsheli after the race. "If I keep improving, I think I have good chance to go to state."

"That is the end goal," he continued. "Maybe I can take my team with me."

At the Oxford Classic, which was held in Bend, Wapsheli matched his personal best time of 19 minutes and 17 seconds to finish 59th out of 106 runners in the boys varsity race. That time puts the junior in eighth place among Tri-Valley boys, giving Wapsheli more fuel for his competitive fire.

Not far behind him were freshmen Kurtis Tanewasha and James Napyer, both of whom also notched personal records by beating the 20-minute mark.

Tanewasha finished in 19:36.5 to place 65th, while Napyer came in 70th with a time of 19:52.7. Each of those times land among the top 20 fastest times in the Tri-Valley this year.

It is not just the Madras boys who are running well, either.

Hannah MacDuffee has been tearing up the courses, and there is even another Wapsheli on the team who is starting to heat up.

MacDuffee beat her old personal best by more than 20 seconds in Bend, registering a 21:15.7 and placing 18th out of 86 racers in the girls varsity heat. That time is the second-fastest of any Tri-Valley racer this season, with Estacada junior Heather Shaver logging a 21:09.2 this weekend.

Madras sophomore Talise Wapsheli also continued on her upward trajectory at the Oxford Classic, setting a season record with a time of 24:14.5 to take 61st place. She has knocked a full six minutes off her first 5K finish of the season in Prineville, positioning her well for a potential run at the state championships. Wapsheli's time is the tenth-fastest in the Tri-Valley this year.

Rounding out the team is Kate Siekkinen, who started late but is also coming on strong. She joined the rest of her teammates by logging a personal record in Bend.

Though it is just Siekkinen's second race, she took nearly three minutes off her time from the previous week's race in The Dalles. Siekkinen finished in 25:51.5 to take 71st place at the Oxford Classic, sliding into 16th on the Tri-Valley leaderboards in the process.

"The season is going perfect," said Isaiah Wapsheli. "Looking at our times and all the other Tri-Valley times, I think if we can keep pushing, we can maybe bring home a season title."

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