A fast race gave the Madras runners a good preview for district.
The White Buffalos ran on a two-mile course at Crook County on Thursday, the final race before district.
The district meet among Intermountain Conference teams is 5,000 meters, or 3.1 miles, contested at Sorosis Park in The Dalles. The event starts at 1 p.m., two hours later than the original posted time.
The race to state is tight with just the top two teams and first four runners not part of the state-qualifying teams advancing to state. The state meet is Nov. 4 at Lane Community College in Eugene.
"It'll be a fast first mile," Madras coach Lonnie Henderson said. "That's just what it was like at Crook County. We've concentrated on speed work the past few weeks and it showed at Crook County."
A fast start will be necessary, Henderson said, as Sorosis Park course is tight often with a single lane.
"We can't let anybody get out too far ahead too fast," Henderson said.
At Crook County, a pair of Buffs were among the early leaders. Freddy Hernandez and Andrew Flu ran among the top five at the one-mile mark.
Hernandez eventually finished eighth in 11 minutes, 19 seconds. Flu was 11th in 11:26.
For Hernandez, a fast first mile set up a slower second mile.
"That first mile was faster than I thought it'd be," Hernandez said. "I expected about 5:30 and we went through at 5:13. That's not my kind of pace. I do better at longer distances."
Hernandez added a flat course such as Crook County doesn't play to his strengths.
"I'm a good runner on hills," Hernandez said. "The district course has a hill, so that will help me."
Flu used the Crook County race as a test for an injured hip. He didn't participate in the week's training to rest what he called "an overused hip."
"It hurts a little after this race, but it's better than before," Flu said. "It's been hurting me for a couple of months."
The Madras boys finished fourth with 75 points, trailing IMC teams Mountain View (40) and Crook County (52). Lex Angiano finished 14th and Atcitty Begay was 16th. The Buffs were without Brandon Thompson due to academic reasons.
"We had more of a gap between our top two runners and our other guys," Madras coach Lonnie Henderson said.
Henderson added Thompson should run at district. However, Cameron Rosenfield (26th at Crook County) will not run at district as he will be taking the American College Test Saturday.
Brittney Devore also ran with the leaders early in her race. She was among the top five as the leaders turned the first corner a quarter-mile into the race.
Devore stayed among the top 10 for the first mile, eventually finishing eighth in 14:08. The freshman was running without her usual running mate Amber Lafayette (academic reasons).
"Brittney did better than we anticipated," assistant coach Rachel Barnhurst said. "She had a lot left at the end, so she was able run hard at the finish. She had a lot left. It showed she was used to three miles."
Hally Adams followed in 12th, clocking 14:30, while Carlen Yallup was 19th. The Madras girls finished fifth.