Wallowa Invitational sees Hayley Oveson take the lead for La Grande

<I>Photos by Michael Lane</I><BR>Krista Stangel (left) and Haley Oveson show a strong kick at the finish of the three-mile course. La Grande finished first for girls teams, followed by Wallowa. Enterprise was running without a full team, though Stangel and Michael Swart showed real speed against a talented La Grande team.

Oveson and Krista Stangel finish first and second among girls running at the Wallowa Invitational; Michael Swart sets pace for the boys race

The hot weather Friday was a boon to football fans, and something of a curse to runners at the Wallowa Invitational. Despite the heat, La Grande's Hayley Oveson put up another winning effort, finishing first for the girls at 20:38, just 10 seconds ahead of Enterprise's Krista Stangel on the 3.1 mile course. The two leaders were almost a minute ahead of third-place Kirsten Johnson, also of La Grande.

Enterprise, still running without a full team, had an individual first with senior Michael Swart finishing first for the boys, at 19:26, followed by Kyle Clough of Joseph at 20:27 and D.J. Lincoln of Enterprise at 20:53.

Oveson, formerly of Wallowa, said she's really enjoyed cross country at La Grande High this year and enjoys the tougher competition at the bigger school, even though she does have to work harder.

"Oh (it's) definitely (fun) - practice is harder; we have a really fast team," she said.

Wallowa cross country coach Jess Turner enjoyed seeing Hayley compete. "Hayley is a great competitor and we support her fully as a team," Turner said.

Stangel, who seems to be improving in every race she runs, thought her times were moving up nicely and that she had improved greatly over her last showing at Catherine Creek. Stangel, who trained all summer for the Junior Olympics, was one of the few runners who didn't seem bothered by the heat during the run.

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