Indian runners look to pick up speed
The start hasn't been bad at all, and the best is still yet to come for Scappoose High's cross-country teams.
That's the assessment of new head coach Kevin Pinkstaff, after three meets and with an interesting third coming up Saturday in the Oregon City XC Invitational.
"The guys and girls ran well there last year," Pinkstaff says, "and the course is conducive to fast times, so I'm looking to see further improvement."
Scappoose began the season Aug. 24 with a meet at Wilsonville, then went to Hydrangea Ranch in Tillamook for the Ultimoook Race Nike Invitational.
The first significant competition against familiar foes came Sept. 5, with the Northwest Oregon Conference Preview at Blue Lake Park in Fairview.
Most everyone who is anyone in Class 5A NWOC cross country was there. Scappoose's boys placed third out of eight squads. The Indians girls were fourth.
The boys had the highest individual placers at Blue Lake Park, with freshmen Rowen and Luke Suchoski finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. Their 5,000-meter times: 18:11.19 and 18:12.0.
Juniors and seniors nabbed the top four spots. One other freshman, Wilsonville's Jacob McClelland, was fifth
"Rowen and Luke stuck their nose right in it and battled near the front, which was great to see," Pinkstaff says.
The next three Indians were junior Gustavo Villalvazo (16th, 18:59.62), senior Jordan Buchanan (29th, 20:12.22) and sophomore Griffin Barron (35th, 20:37.69).
"A solid performance for them, as well," Pinkstaff says.
Another freshman, Tristan Hopkins, was 39th in 20:49.82, just ahead of Scappoose junior Josh Lull (40th, 20:50.84).
"The biggest surprise was Tristan. He had a breakthrough race," Pinkstaff says.
For the boys to finish third with 92 points, behind deep Wilsonville (34) and talented Parkrose (64), "was a great result, and validates our hopes of challenging for a state berth," Pinkstaff says.
La Salle Prep was fourth with 98 points. Then came St. Helens (111), Hillsboro (125), Milwaukie (190) and Putnam (216).
"It's clear it's going to be tight with La Salle and St. Helens challenging for that (third) spot" to the Nov. 3 5A championships at Lane Community College in Eugene, Pinkstaff says. "And Hillsboro will be a strong contender in that mix as well."
Pinkstaff also notes that the Scappoose junior varsity boys "had a strong race" as they placed third with 69 points, behind Wilsonville (15) and La Salle Prep (64) and ahead of fourth-place Parkrose (109).
"I'm pleased to see our depth beyond our top seven, with several guys with strong performances right on the heels of the varsity guys," Pinkstaff says.
The Scappoose girls had 90 points in the NWOC Preview. Wilsonville (23), La Salle Prep (59) and Putnam (64) went 1-2-3.
"I'm happy with a fourth, considering how new most of our girls are," Pinkstaff says. "The girls struggled a little with the heat that day, and consequently we didn't see improvement over last week's times, unfortunately. So we learned a lesson with that, and it was valuable for them to continue to build experience running 5Ks."
The top Indians girl was senior Anne Morud (18th, 24:45.55).
Freshman Sydney Hanke wasn't able to compete because of calf pain.
"It was smarter to let her recover rather than make it worse," Pinkstaff says. "She has the potential to run in the front group. It would have been good for her to get experience racing with those girls, but fortunately there will be other chances in upcoming meets."
Overall, with the Oregon City meet now at hand,
"Both the guys and girls should be motivated by their placings last week and eager to continue to improve," Pinkstaff says.