Runners turn in speedy times on shortened Enterprise course

Andy Vernarsky (left) chases Chad Blackburn of Stanfield down the last leg of the boys cross-crountry race Tuesday afternoon at Alpine Meadows Golf Course. Vernarsky was unable to close the gap and finished in ninth place three seconds behind Blackburn. Photo by Rick Swart

High school cross-country runners turned in some of the best times of the year - and in some cases the best times of their lives - Tuesday during the Enterprise Invitational at Alpine Meadows Golf Course.

Cool weather and a well manicured course contributed to the stellar times ... and so did a shorter course than the usual 5,000 meters.

"I shortened the course a little bit," said Enterprise Coach Dan Moody, who estimated that the course was 200 to 250 meters shorter than usual. "Times were definitely faster than they should have been."

The Union girls and Enterprise boys won their respective divisions but had to overcome some formidable challenges. The Wallowa girls, led by Hayley Oveson, who breezed to a first place individual finish, came within striking distance of the Bobcats, who are the top-rated girls team in the state.

"It was a good race for our girls," said Wallowa coach Jess Turner, who was especially pleased with Deena Tsiatsos and the Silveira sisters, Victoria and Samantha, who finished in a group in 10th, 11th and 12th. "Deena really took over today and that's nice to see."

The Enterprise boys, a perennial cross-country power, barely beat Union, which swept the number 2,3 and 4 places.

"Union and Wallowa really stepped up today," said Enterprise coach Dan Moody. "They competed better than we did. We still have some things to do. Everybody's after us.

The Wallowa boys' performance was bolstered by Nick Johnson, who is coming back from a broken ankle that sidelined him all of last year. The fifth place finisher at state in 2001, Johnson "is working hard and meeting his goals," said Turner, noting that the Wallowa standout hopes to reach peak condition by the district meet in two weeks. Wallowa also got a strong performance from Brandon Casper, who finished in 11th place, just behind Johnson.

Enterprise's top runners were Krysta Stangel on the girls side, who finished the race in second place, 54 seconds behind Oveson. Michael Swart was Enterprise's fastest boys runner, finishing in third place behind La Grande's Travis Dixon and Leif Jackson.

The Joseph boys team was fourth, led by Kyle Cough in seventh place with a time of 17:28.

Boys Results

Team results - 1. Enterprise 43, 2. Union 49, 3. Wallowa 61, 4. Joseph 89, 5. Stanfield 105.

1. Travis Dixon, LG, 16:30, 2. Leif Jackson, LG, 16:47, 3. Michael Swart, E, 17:02, 4. Billy Garrison, U, 17:14, 5. Klamath Walker, U, 17:23, 6. Bren Sheehy, U, 17:27, 7. Kyle Clough, J, 17:28; 8. Chad Blackburn, S, 17:33, 9. Andy Vernarsky, E, 17:36; 10. Nick Johnson, W, 17:40, 11. Brandon Casper, W, 17:48, 12. Chris Lozier, E, 18:02, 13. Chris Tsiatsos, W, 18:21, 14. Andrew Gorbett, E, 18:29, 15. Nathan Slinker, E, 18:37, 16. Bryan Hesse, U, 18:48, 17. Caleb Pringle, W, 19:06, 18. Kevin Ryan, J, 19:12, 20. Tanner Beglau, W, 19:28, 21. Derrek Layton, J, 19:33, 22. Samuel Brainard, W, 19:49, 23. Lee Phelps, W, 20:09, 24. Malte Sievers, J, 20:20, 25. Derek Huff, E, 20:20, 26. McCord Denton, S, 20:31, 27. Riley Wortman, W, 21:25, 28. Mike Gibson, El, 21:29, 29. Marc Valdez, U, 21:31, 30. Julian Moro, J, 21:32, 31. Marc Mills, S, 22:16, 32. Dan Eagan, W, 22:27, 33. Cutter Dorran, S, 23.01, 34. Seth Watson, J, 25:18, 35. Michael McCrae, U, 27:36.

Girls Results

Team results - 1. Union 32, 2. Wallowa 49, 3. Enterprise 54, 4. Stanfield 77.

1. Hayley Oveson, W, 18:10, 2. Krysta Stangel, E, 19:06, 3. Ashley Sharratt, U, 19:10, 4. Shannon Mitchell, U, 19:46, 5. Kelsey Davis, El, 20:52, 6. Kara Baxter, U, 20:54, 7. Rosa Bantista, S, 21:31, 8. Shawna Nelson, U, 21:38, 9. Julie Vernarsky, E, 21:48, 10. Linnaea Kibler, E, 21:50, 11. Deena Tsiatsos, W, 22:15, 12. Victoria Silveira, W, 22:20, 13. Samantha Silveira, W, 22:23, 14. Krystal Papineu, U, 22:25, 15. Thalia Russell, S, 22:43, 16. CaitlinTurner, W, 23:06, 17. Alma Alvarez, S, 23:09, 18. Nicole Anderson, E, 23:29, 19. Jera Wallenburg, E, 24.06, 20. Sabine Franke, U, 24:09, 21. Brita Blackburn, S, 24:30, 22. Vianey Angel, S, 24:33, 23. Erica Howerton, J, 24:33, 24. Larne Sheehy, U, 24:42, 25. Rebecca Colton, U, 27:32, 26. Becky Verimillion, S, 27:56, 27. Crystal Weatherman, S, 28:27, 28. Christina Cunningham, E, 30:00.

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