Cowgirls finish fifth at seven-team meet

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Runners cross Ochoco Creek near the start of the girls portion of the Jere Breese Memorial Ranch Stampede Saturday morning. The Crook County boys finished fourth in the seven team meet while the girls team wound up in fifth place.

It was not your usual Cross Country race.
   Competitors forded Ochoco Creek twice, ran through a flooded field, and climbed from the valley floor to the top of the rimrock at the Jere Breese Memorial Ranch Stampede.
   By all accounts the race, which featured high school as well as open and youth competition, was a success.
   “I thought it went really well,” said Crook County head coach Tracy Smith about the second annual event. “Everybody was real positive about it and they all liked the course.”
   After a trial run last year with a handful of runners this year’s event was significantly larger. Forty-six entries competed in the open races, while more than 250 high school athletes ran the challenging course.
   Mountain View High School won both the boys and girls team competition at the meet. Led by race winner Dakota Thornton the Cougar boys dominated the competition, finishing with 26 points. Bend finished in second place with 48 points. They were followed by Sisters (69), Crook County (99), Redmond (164), Ridgeveiw (172), and La Pine (183).
   In girls action Mountain View edged Bend 36 to 37. Sisters finished in third with 80 points, while Redmond was fourth with 98 points. Crook County took fifth with 140 points and Ridgeview trailed the field with 163 points. La Pine also competed in the meet but failed to field a complete team.
   Thornton finished the 5,000-meter course in 17:05.6 narrowly edging second place Caleb Hoffman of Bend who finished with a time of 17:05.8. Mountain View’s Gabriel Wylie took third, while Crook County’s Grayson Munn wound up fourth, with a time of 17:51, despite falling in a water hazard less than a mile from the finish.
   “I was expecting the race to be a lot more challenging because of the uphill and all the water,” Munn said. “But you get in the race and your adrenaline kicks in and I didn’t really feel it. I feel very positive and our boys team is looking really strong.”
   Luis Rivera was the second Cowboy to finish the course, taking 17th with a time of 19:13. Liam Pickhardt (22nd) and Blake George (26th) were close behind in times of 19:32, and 19:43 respectively.
   “It was a really fun course,” Rivera said. “I enjoyed it a lot and I think we did pretty good as a team. We have a real good boys team this year and I think we will do well at state.”
   Rounding out the Cowboys scoring was Nathan Carmack who finished 33rd with a time of 20:06. Also competing for the Cowboys were Cody Thurman (45th), Pit Lee (48th), Justin Glass (57th), Sam Santiago (87th), Paul Miller (94th), Braden Swensen (101), Jesse Santiago (102), and Dustin Seyl (107th).
   “The boys really ran well,”?Smith said. “I think we have a pretty good chance of winning our district and placing in the top six at state.”
   Mountain View’s Sage Hassell won the girls race with a time of 20:31. Crook County was led by freshmen Irene Morales and Ashton Morgan who finished 28th and 29th respectively with times of 24:54 and 25:01.
   “It was a really fun course,” Morales said. “The hills were fun and where it was flooded it cooled you off. It was perfect. We’ve been training really hard for this race and it definitely paid off.”
   Morgan was also pleased with how the race went.
   “I thought it was a hard course, but it was fun,” she said. “I liked going through the creek and all the water. I was so tired at the end, but I was happy with how I did.”
   Natalie Stenbeck was the third Cowgirl to cross the finish line, taking 36th with a time of 25:39. She was followed closely by Charsie Brewer and Katherine Lee who finished 39th and 40th with times of 25:52 and 25:58 respectively. Kelsee Martin was the final Cowgirl to count in the scoring, finishing 66th with a time of 27:23. She was followed by Kylee Swensen (71st), Danielle Skranak (86th), Samantha Pepper (86th), Brielle Worthing (95th), Tobi Hanes (110th), and Taylor Hanes (121).
   “Our girls were ahead of Ridgeview by 23 points and they may be our biggest competition at district,” Smith said. “I was really pleased with how our kids did.”
   No times were recorded for the 5K and 10K open races.
   However, in the 5K race Heath Pickhardt took first in the 13 and under age group, while Jack Stubblefield won the 14-19 age group. Mike Condon took the 20-29 group while Randy McClellan took the 30-39 group and James Blanchard won the 40-49 age group. John Stolz took the 50-59 group while Hayati Wolfenden was the first female finisher, taking first in the 14-19 age group. Michelly Foley won the girls 19-29 race while Rita McClellan took the 30-39 group and A.J. Pickhardt won the 40-49 age group. Christa Cooley took the women’s 50-59 race.
   The Men’s 10K age group winners were Louis Adamson (30-39), Paul Leapaldt (4-59), Bill Mintiens (50-59), and John Malpass (60-69). The women’s 10K winner was Maggie Akerberg who competed in the 30-39 age group.
   Smith plans to invite just Central Oregon teams to the race again next year, then in the future expand the race to include high school teams from around the state.
   “I think it could be a really big thing,” he said. “The people that were there were all talking about it.”
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