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The Indian boys battle St. Helens to the finish before taking second to the Lions

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Scappoose junior Gustavo Villalvazo races through his leg during the Trojan Relays at Trojan Park in Rainier on Oct. 4.The Scappoose cross country teams took a ride in their time machine last week.

While most of their year has been spent acclimating themselves to the new environs of the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference, the Indians matched up against a bunch of old-school Cowapa League foes on Oct. 4 at Rainier's Trojan Park.

Running in the annual Trojan Relays, the Scappoose boys team battled to second-place in a field that included six varsity teams and another 13 junior varsity teams. The Indian girls held their own as well, running to third in their meet.

Boys Meet

In the boys race, St. Helens ran to first place with a team time of 54 minutes, 43.52 seconds, followed by Scappoose's 55:01.83, Rainier at 58:26.80, Banks with a 58:40.36, Mossyrock, Washington, at 59:02.59 and Astoria with a 59:10.77.

The meet was a relay event with each team recording five varsity times over the 3,100-meter course at Trojan Park just south of Rainier.

While the Indians said they enjoyed the meet's unique format, they also said they were there for more than just fun.

"Having fun is part of it, but it's also about improving our (personal records), cheering our teammates on and growing as a team," said junior Gustavo Villalvazo, who finished his leg of the race with a time of 11 minutes, 15 seconds. "We're doing very good (this year). We've had quite a lot of PRs on the team so people are improving."

"The boys varsity (runners) were looking for a win so they were disappointed to come up short," said Scappoose coach Kevin Pinkstaff. "It was close throughout the whole race and St. Helens just outran us."

The Scappoose boys were led by freshmen Luke and Rowen Suchoski, with Luke Suchoski posting a time of 10 minutes, 34 seconds and Rowen Suchoski finishing close behind with a 10:36.

The rest of the Indians were competitive, too, with junior Josh Lull notching a 11:09, Villalvazo finishing at 11:15 and senior Jordan Buchanan crossing the line at 11:26.

"I started out strong in the beginning, but the guy behind me, he caught up to me a little bit," Villalvazo said. "I probably should have worked harder to stay up with him. I was trying to be smart, but like my coach says, I over-think it sometimes."

"Our runners enjoy this meet," Pinkstaff said, adding that the Indians ended the day with a pizza picnic to celebrate Tristan Hopkins' birthday. "It's a unique format and it's nice to have a shorter race to break up all of the 5Ks throughout the season."

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Scappoose senior Anne Morud had her team's best time during the Trojan Relays at Trojan Park in Rainier on Oct. 4.

Girls Meet

In the girls meet, St. Helens stepped up again and sped to first place with a time of 1:06:16, with Astoria second at 1:06:55 and Scappoose third with a 1:12.05.

The other team scores included St. Helens No. 2 at 1:14.30, Rainier with a 1:14:52 and the Rainier junior varsity team at 1:17:16.

"It was kind of a hard race because that course was hard to run on, but I think it was good," said Scappoose senior Anne Morud — a first-year cross country runner — who led her team with a time of 13:31. "We were doing well as sticking together as a team."

"On the girls side, with so many new runners on the team, it's been great just to see them work together to improve from week to week throughout the season," Pinkstaff said.

After Morud, freshman Elise Briscoe crossed the finish line next with a time of 13:55 and she was followed by junior Tosha Lopez at 14:36, senior Kylee Plan with a 14:59 and senior Audrey Demeaux at 15:03.

"Today was kind of a fun day. I was hoping just to do well," Morud said. "I didn't really have a set goal in mind, except I wanted to run a PR."

"On the girls side, they are showing great improvement from the start of the season," Pinkstaff added.

Next up, the Indians run against St. Helens, Hillsboro and Milwaukie at St. Helens' McCormich Park on Wednesday, then runs in the Valiant Invitational at Valley Catholic on Oct. 18.

Contact Sports Editor Miles Vance at 503-330-0127 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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