Contributed photos/Paul Carson
The Dalles cross country runners hit the Wildhorse Course in a pre-district meet Thursday in Pendleton. Emma Mullins, Hanna Ziegenhagen, Jenna Miller, Savannah Strassheim and Paulina Finn all ended up in the top-20 out of the 92 participants, but it was the time of Zoe Orion that gave The Dalles a tiebreaker win over Hood River Valley. The junior varsity boys had a first-place finish with 30 points, and freshman Emily Johnson set a personal record in the girls’ junior varsity race to claim an individual crown.
Five of the top seven Lady Riverhawk varsity runners finished 20th or better in a first-place effort, Emily Johnson won the junior varsity race, and the junior varsity boys had six harriers place in the top-10 for top honors at the Kyle Burnside Wildhorse Invitational Thursday in Pendleton.
“We had a very good day at the Wildhorse Golf Course with 14 personal bests,” said TD head coach Bob Thouvenel. “Our kids ran really well, again, as a group.”
Coming off a personal record time of 19 minutes and 50 seconds on Oct. 11 in Tualatin, junior standout Emma Mullins strutted her top stuff for a seventh-place time of 20:06.2, her fourth top-8 output in eight races this season.
Hanna Ziegehagen was 12th best with a 20:33.8, and the trio of Jenna Miller (20:59.1), Savannah Strassheim (21:01.9) and Paulina Finn (21:08.3) crossed the line, all in the top-20, out of the 92 runners participating.
Rounding out the varsity running times was Zoe Orion (21:55.0), who placed 34th, and junior Aspen Cook (21:58.8) hit for 35th place overall.
Both The Dalles and Hood River Valley finished tied for first place with 66 points, but the edge went to the Hawks, as Orion’s time was better than HRV’s sixth-best runner.
Hermiston, another Columbia River Conference team, added 68 points for third place, Enterprise was fourth (72), Union took fifth (123), La Grande ended up sixth (155) and Pendleton scored seventh place (193) out of the 10-team field.
“On the girls’ side of things, it looks to be a very close race for the top-2 team spots to go to the state meet,” Thouvenel said. “Our girls tied HRV but won because of our sixth runner and Hermiston was only two points behind. HRV was missing one of their top girls yesterday.”
The boys’ varsity race matched up 15 teams and 130 runners, with Riverhawk sophomore Sam Alvarez having the best finish of ninth place after a blistering 16:59.7.
Michael Lantz (17:18.4), Rey Aviluz (17:23.1), Zerin Croover (17:26.4), Friedrick Stelzer (17:46.1), Zack Ziegenhagen (17:50.7), Jonathan Knotts (17:57.1) and Gabe Lira (18:44.4) all helped TD to third place with 79 team points, behind Hood River Valley (65) and event winner, Union (36).
Hermiston placed fourth with 145 points and Pendleton ended up 11th after a 277-point effort.
Staked by the top-10 running performances of Dillon Dorado (18:24.3), Evan Despain (18:25.4), David Wring (18:35.3), Noah Holloran (18:36.6), Gavin Cates (18:37.6) and Nick Caracciolo (18:38.1), the junior varsity boys racked up 30 points to take first place, just ahead of second-place Hood River Valley (38).
Bill Burns (18:48.9), Jack Bonham (18:51.0), Silas Fields (19:26.0), Aaron Pyles (19:40.9), Ivan Rodriguez (19:43.3), Spencer Coburn (19:54.3), Quinn Strassheim (20:00.7), Colin Shubert (20:14.5) and Blake Keinlen (20:23.6) all wound up within the top-36 in the individual standings, out of 82 total runners.
In her first career race, Johnson, a freshman, had a time of 24:07, but over the past four events, she has shaved down nearly three minutes off that time, setting a personal record of 21:38.7 on Thursday.
Sophomore Elizabeth Tapia just missed on her personal record of 22:22.8, but still finished with a 22:44.5 to grab third-place honors against a tough 57-person junior varsity field.
Marissa Heemsah (23:47.8), Aurelia Hill (24:02.6), Marin Alvarez (24:44.8), Yajaira Madrigal (25:07.6), Sarah Winters (29:51.5), Yahaira Alvarez (32:38.6), and Keisha Oregon (39:46.6) made up the rest of the Riverhawk junior varsity girls.
The Burnside Invitational was not just a race on the schedule, this was a pre-district meet, where The Dalles, Hermiston, Hood River Valley and Pendleton get to see what times to beat before the actual district session at 3:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 on the same Wildhorse course.
“It will be an interesting district meet, since our league only gets two team spots, unlike our other fall sports that have three spots for the playoffs and play-in games,” Thouvenel said. “We will have to be at our best next Thursday.”