Perfect running conditions helped the combined ladies cross-country team cruise to a second-place finish in their season opener at the Runner Soul XC Fest in Hermiston on Sept. 8. Led largely by a lower classman, the squad just missed a first-place finish, scoring 69 points to Union’s 65 in the 11-team field.
Sophomore marvel Kyla Hook placed second overall, smoking the 5000 meter course in 20:41.8, just seconds behind the winner, a senior.
Junior Ellyse Tingelstad finished in the sixth slot with a time of 21:11.7 while senior Ella Coughlan notched a 14th place at 22:13.6. Senior Ashley Wilson placed 16th with 22:18 on the clock at her arrival.
Coach Dan Moody also lauded the performance of first-timer Sydney Rouse.
“She really stepped up,” he said.
The boys squad also made a fine showing, placing seventh of 15 teams. Freshmen led the way with Henry Coughlan in the 12th slot with a time of 17:33.8 while classmate Bayden Menton claimed the 20th spot at 18:08.8. Zac Knapp placed 25th at 18:24.1 and Ian Goodrich clocked in with 19:24.2.
Moody didn’t expect the squad’s success as he had worked them hard the previous week.
“Man, they came through big-time,” he said. “This is probably the best first meet performance I’ve had that I can remember.”
Moody said that a number of runners turned in personal best times.
“It pleasantly surprised me,” he said. “I didn’t know that we were in as good a shape as what we ran. There were some really good schools there.”
He noted the performance of the boys team, in which the first four finishers were freshmen and the fifth a sophomore.
“The boys were so excited to run that they were wound up tighter than a drum,” Moody said. “I think they could have ran a little better if they’d been a little more relaxed.”
Moody also noted the performance of the junior high school team. He said the boys team placed three runners in the top 10.
Never one to rest on his previous laurels, Moody noted the team still has a lot of work to do.
“We’re inexperienced, but we still ran fairly well,” he said. “But we’ve got to get better.”