The Dalles cross country team had its motor running at a high level in Thursday’s Mustang Invitational held at Thompson Ranch near Heppner.
Both the boys and girls came out victorious in the eight-team field, Hanna Ziegenhagen placed second with a time of 20 minutes and 28.2 seconds on the 5k course, and Juan Diego Contreras picked up his first-career varsity win in a personal-best 16:27.9, less than five seconds ahead of Pasco senior Elias Torres (16:32.3).
Friedrich Stelzer, out of Dufur, took home third place with a final mark of 16:36.2, Nick Caracciolo secured sixth place in 17:16.2, and Noah Holloran turned in a time of 18:06.8 to get 13th place.
The boys had nine personal records and four season-best marks, with Evan Despain (18:19.2), Spencer Coburn (18:22.6), Conor Blair (18:28.7) and Austin Agidius (18:37.5) winding up inside the top-20, out of 98 harriers.
“Right now, our biggest problem is the gap between third and fourth place by over one minute,” said TD head coach Bob Thouvenel. “We need to close the gap in order to be a better boys team.”
Gavin Cates had a time of 18:39.5 to earn 22nd place, Tate Hattenhauer crossed the finish line in 19:08.8 for 32nd place, Nathan Pyles had a mark of 19:19.3 to end up 37th, Angel Oregon was 43rd in 19:33.4, and Paul Kelly tallied a 20:00.7 to place 48th.
Ivan Rodriguez (20:06.2), Will Evans (20:09.6), Aaron Pyles (20:35.9), Terrin Tibbets (20:36.6), Kayden McCavic (21:12.7), Eric Kung (24:33.6), Ricky Rosette (25:51.3) and Zane Strassheim (26:35.1) rounded out the Riverhawk runners.
After TD (37 points), Pasco, Wash. was second with 39 points, Heppner notched third place (67), and Pendleton (98) was fourth.
On the girls side, TD totaled 45 points for the win, 11 points ahead of Pendleton and Heppner, who each had 56 points for a second-place deadlock, and 25 ahead of Pasco, Wash. (70).
Ziegenhagen has three top-10 regular-season outputs on the year and was 42.3 seconds off her personal-best time following her second-place marker of 20:28.2.
Fonetia Duyck had a top-4 time of 20:31.5, a personal record, Emily Johnson, a junior, timed out in 11th place in 21:56.8, and Caitie Wring hustled home in 22:03.5 to get 13th place.
“Again, we have too much of a time gap between our number two and three runners,” Thouvenel said of the girls. “Ideally, we would like to have five runners within a minute of each other. Overall, a good race for both teams on a fairly flat course in an alfalfa field.”
Jenna Miller hit for 19th place (22:55.4), Liz Tapia placed 20th in 23:00.0, Fiona Dunlop was 24th after a 23:19.3, and Giselle Ortega ended up 30th (24:04.3) in the individual field of 71.
Bree Webber (25:36.2), Breanna Bare (25:46.4), Rainie Codding (26:03.5), Lindy Taylor (29:09.6), Shea McAllister (29:22.3), Ashley Quisenberry (29:38.1), Lucy Booth (30:30.3) and Keisha Oregon (39:51.3) made up the rest of the top Riverhawk participants.
Coming off an impressive effort, The Dalles is off to the Champoeg Invitational in St. Paul for another race at 1 p.m. Friday.