Wallowa High will not field a cross country team this fall, since the program dwindled after coach Jess Turner left over the summer to take a teaching and administrative position at St. Paul.

"There was a lack of interest," athletic director Warren Wilson said.

Last year, Turner led a small cross country team of four girls. He also assisted Dr. Dawn Crow in coaching the track and field program. During the summer, however, he left to teach English and drama at St. Paul. He will also direct the curriculum and coach that school's cross country and track programs.

After Turner left, Wallowa struggled to keep its cross-country team intact. While the Enterprise and Joseph school boards approved their co-op at the start of the summer - with Enterprise coach Dan Moody in charge - time expired before Wallowa could get into the mix.

"Everything had to be done by Sept. 4," Moody said. "I should've pushed for it as soon as I learned Turner was going to St. Paul."

Athletic director Warren Wilson said that Wallowa will try to revive the program next year as part of a countywide "co-op" with Enterprise and Joseph. Around the state, two-school unions are far more common than anything involving more schools, but it has happened. Wilson cited the Wheeler-Condon-Arlington baseball team.

Currently, students from Enterprise and Joseph play together in baseball, softball, cross country and golf. Both school boards recently voted in favor of a wrestling co-op, and are awaiting final approval.

Wilson said that, during the next year, they plan to propose a cross-country co-op to all three school boards. If passed, it will mark the first time all three local high schools mixed to field one team, in any sport.

"It's up to board approval," Wilson said. "I hope (it passes) because it's in the best interest of the kids."

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