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Wood makes moves in California

Given her running expertise, The Dalles Wahtonka junior Maddie Wood has logged plenty of frequent flyer miles, traveling the world to run against an elite class of the United State’s best.

Wood concluded her 2013 off-season running campaign this past weekend where she ended up in 31st place with a final time of 21 minutes and 29.8 seconds at the Foot Locker West Regional Event in Walnut, Calif. on the campus of Mount San Antonio College.

“I think I ran very well considering the intensity of the course,” Wood said. “I was hoping to place in top fifty and ended up 31st. I am very happy with how did.”

Wood ran in the Junior Girls Classification 5K race against a stout field of 146 girls from the western part of the US and Overseas, with Oregon, Washington, California, New Mexico and Montana, to name a few, represented.

Overall, there were several races run, some going on at the same time.

The last two races are the elite boys and girls.

Of that group, the top-10 from these two races qualifies for the National Foot Locker race in San Diego, Calif. this weekend.

“It was a little nerve-racking, but I tried not to let it get the best of me,” Wood said. “But, it was also very inspiring to witness.”

In many ways, Wood’s junior campaign has been even better than her regionals and national march last year at this time.

Last year, at Balloon Fiesta Park for the National Junior Olympic Meet in Albuquerque, N.M., Wood finished in 62nd place out of a field of 132 runners with a final time of 22 minutes and 2.06 seconds.

Earlier in her running slate, on Nov. 16 at the State Junior Olympics Championships in Monmouth, Wood stopped the watch in a solid 20:10.9 for first place state

The following weekend, Wood stepped up in the 17-18 girls’ class, the 2013 state qualifier hammered home a 20:19.0 at regionals at Western Oregon University.

In California, TDW assistant coach Mandi Williams recalled that Wood raced very well and passed about 15 harriers in the last mile to move up to 31st on a very hilly, hard course, called ‘college hill.’

Wood medaled as a top-48 finalist and she was the first Oregon finisher in all of about 12 different races.

Current TDW head coach Bob Thouvenel is still impressed by everything his prized pupil has accomplished in her career.

With more year of high school eligibility remaining, Wood appears to have just reached the tip of the iceberg.

“I would say that her driving force is to continue to improve and become a better cross country runner and distance runner for track and field,” Thouvenel said. “She has done quite well. She recently ran under 20 minutes in a road run, so she is continuing to improve. I would like to think that she hasn’t reached her potential yet.”

From last year to this year, Wood sees marked improvements made to her endurance and a strict workout regimen, which has led to greater success.

At TDW’s end-of-the-year award ceremonies, she was named as the team’s Outstanding Female along with first team all-league honors.

Wood added another recognition to her trophy case, as she was one of seven girls who ran at the state meet to receive a special OSAA participation certificate.

“My times this year, overall, have been much better than years past,” Wood said. “I finally broke 20 minutes and that has been a goal of mine for the last four years. It undoubtedly goes to better work ethic, harder workouts and the coaching I got.”

Still with two spring track seasons upcoming, and a cross country year left, Wood is dead-set on accomplishing so much more before hanging up her running shoes.

“I have set new goals for myself,” Wood said. “And in order to reach those goals, I will have to up my intensity and length of workouts, eat better, sleep more and start going on morning runs before school.”

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