JOSEPH — Joseph running fans became used to seeing Ellyse Tingelstad leading the pack in either a cross-country race for Wallowa Valley or a distance run for the Eagles track and field team.

Now they’re consistently starting to see her name atop the leaderboard at the College of Idaho — and in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.

The former Joseph standout, a 2020 graduate, won the CCC women’s championship Friday, Nov. 5, in Klamath Falls, leading C of I to yet another CCC title.

Tingelstad finished the race in a time of 19 minutes, 6.30 seconds to not only lead the Coyotes at the CCC meet for the second season in a row, but to this time win the conference. She bested teammate Sage Martin, who placed second with a time of 19:14.40.

“The race was just — the thing that comes to mind — it was super weird. An interesting race, and it was fun,” she said. “Nothing ever goes to plan, I feel like, or exactly how you would think.”

The Yotes, who were national runners-up in the spring and will be in the title mix again at the NAIA Championships on Nov. 19 in Vancouver, Washington, had their top five runners all place inside the top 12, and all came in in less than 20 minutes on the wet course in Southwestern Oregon.

The Yotes finished with 33 points, well ahead of second-place Southern Oregon (87 points) and third-place Oregon Tech (90) to win their third-straight CCC title and eighth all-time, according to yoteathletics.com.

It was just the third race of the season for the sophomore, with a foot injury and a COVID exposure keeping her out of earlier competitions.

“It was a combination of things. I have been dealing with an injury since last spring, still battling that as we go along,” Tingelstad said. “It was a combination of that, (then) between COVID guidelines and being quarantined for exposure, it caused me to miss the first couple meets. I am still cross training (for) a very large portion of my training right now, running just three days a week, trying to get through the season.”

The low number of races clearly hasn’t been detrimental. The race was her second-straight victory and third top-10 finish of the fall. She placed seventh at the Steve Reeder Memorial in Logan, Utah, on Oct. 8 against a field that had several Division I runners, and won the William Jessup Invitational Oct. 23 in Rocklin, California. The effort — she posted a time of 17:31.6 that day — earned her an NAIA women’s cross-country runner of the week nod.

Tingelstad said she is gaining more confidence now having a year under her belt.

“I know what to expect when I go into things,” she said. “I’m not going in trying to figure out what my place is. I’m starting to get to know a lot of the girls I see from other teams and where I fit in with that. The biggest thing is having more confidence and knowing my team better, in a sense. It’s been a lot more normal of a year, so we’ve been able to have more structure.”

C of I has been either first or second in each race it has run this fall, and has four of its top five runners from the second-place team back. Tingelstad, who took 33rd at nationals to lead the Yotes in that race, believes her team can be in the mix for the top spot.

“A national title is realistic,” she said. “It’s something we are working for and contending for.”

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