Runners blaze trail at Sparks Invite

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

September 20, 2006

Taking part in their first conference meet of the season, the Hood River Valley cross country teams were anxious to prove they could compete in the Mt. Hood Conference. The message has been sent.

Erin Jones and Leo Castillo both clocked in second place times in their races, and Melissa Kaufmann finished sixth on the girls’ side.

Overall, the girls’ varsity team finished third behind Hermiston and Mt. Hood Conference rival Reynolds, while the boys’ varsity finished sixth.

Both teams will a chance for a closer look at Reynolds when they take on the Raiders in a head-to-head match up today.

Jones dueled with Hermiston’s Kimberly Macias for the early part of the race before Macias, who finished second in state last season, pulled away down the stretch. Castillo ran neck and neck with Franklin’s Bryce Burgess before Burgess stretched his lead to 17 seconds.

Alex Van Slyke on the boys’ side and Boo Lucas on the girls’ side also posted good times for the Eagles.

For the JV teams Brandon Nakamura was the top finisher for the Hood River boys while Kelsey Griffith led the girls.

With their first meet out of the way, the Eagles can now have something to build on over the course of the season.

“They have now established their personal records for the season,” Coach Kristen Uhler said. “Each meet they’ll improve on that time.”

After the head-to-head match up with Reynolds, the Eagles head to Seaside for a meet there Friday and Saturday.

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