The combined Wallowa Valley cross-country team marked another milestone with a clean, four-way victory at the Helix Stubblebuster Oct. 11. Both the high school and junior high thinclads walked away with first-place honors in the boys and girls events.
“I guess you could say it was a pretty good day for the county,” said Coach Dan Moody. “There were a lot of personal records.”
Of the 22 high school runners, 16 achieved their best times of the season.
On the boys’ side, the return of Henry Coughlan to the lineup helped vault the team to a first-place finish. Coughlan recorded a personal best time of 16:26.3, one of the best times in the state, for a second-place overall finish and first for the squad.
The always-reliable Zac Knapp came in close behind at 16:43.5. Rounding out the three freshmen horsemen of the team, Bayden Menton trotted in at 17:24.5. Cole Gomes netted an 18:07.
Local runners took five of the top 10 spots in the winner’s circle.
For the ladies, the return of Kyla Hook also heralded more top-10 finishers, which helped ensure the victory. Wallowa Valley scored only 18 points in the competition while second-place Griswold ran far behind with 56.
The ladies took the first four places as well as the 10th slot. Ellyse Tingelstad placed first with a time of 19:58.4 while Hook followed on her heels, sprinting in at 20:20.5. Ella Coughlan had a 20:45.2 and Ashley Wilson raced for a 20:49.9 time.
Moody praised his athletes but noted room for improvement.
“We’re closing the gaps, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he said.
Enterprise boys took second and girls third in a three-way matchup, the Tiger Invite, Oct 12 at Lane Farms outside LaGrande.
Moody noted that Friday’s race was run more as a strategy race.
“They ran hard Thursday, so they took it a little easier today,” he said.
Coughlan was the top finisher for the boys, placing fifth in 18:03. Teammate Knapp crossed the finish line three-tenths of a second later for sixth. Menton rounded out the top 10 with an 18:35 finish, good enough for ninth overall.
Other competitors for Enterprise included Gomes, Ian Goodrich, Reece Nelson, Foster Hobbs, Gabriel Hawkins, Devin Greer, David Salim, Flynn Nave, Kennison Knifong and Kyler Winn.
Tingelstad finished fifth overall with a 21:58,790 to lead the effort for the girls. Hook and Ella Coughlan finished seventh and eighth, respectively, with times of 22:05 and 22:26.
Other competitors for Enterprise included Lannie Stonebrink, Sydney Rouse, Greta Carlsen, Charlotte McDonald, Liz Rowley, Sidney Stonebrink and Hero Peters.
Enterprise has one regular-season cross country meet remaining, the Kyle Burnside Wildhorse Invite in Pendleton Oct. 18. State championships will be run Nov. 3 at Lane Community College in Eugene.