Originally published November 1, 2017 at midnight, updated November 1, 2017 at midnight
A core group of dedicated Hood River Middle School runners participated in preseason training in August and, at the start of the school year, brought out the rest of the team. Unfortunately, the Eagle Creek fire put a damper on strenuous workouts and cancelled the season’s first two events.
Smoky conditions and the firefighter camp at the Hood River County Fairgrounds postponed Wy’east’s program until the second week of September.
Despite the slow start, HRMS runners came out strong for their first meet at the Skip Sparks Cross Country Festival in Hood River on Sept. 20.
Ryan Salmon, Geoffery Shoaf, Joe Reitz and Tristan Smith all placed in the top 10 and garnered a first-place finish for the boys team. Amelia Huxtable, Brinna Weiseth, Mieka McKnight and Calla King had a powerful showing for a second place finish for the girls.
The Bridgette Nelson race in The Dalles provided kindling for the fire the team lit for the Nike Portland XC race Sept. 30.
A Western States tradition, the Nike race provided personal records for most participants. The boys team placed eighth out of 29 teams and the girls took ninth place out of 25 western region teams.
The last official meet of the season, Estacada, had the Hood River Valley boys squad fill places first through fourth, with Jack Grim in 10th finishing off the other teams handily.
Not to be outdone, the girls took places first through fifth with King in seventh. Ella Newton, Ava Kitt and Mikelle Stasak also had strong showings and the girls team came away with a win to finish the season.
The post season Oregon State XC meet Oct. 29 had 10 athletes travel to Monmouth to run the 1.8-mile (3km) course. Jackson Bullock and John Beckman had excellent races against tough competition in the boy’s race. The girls team finished sixth out of 14 teams, with a great come-back performance by Tate Hixson, who had her season postponed due to injury.
Head Coach Aaron Haynes noted this year’s team was a “dedicated, hard working group” and his wife, coach Robin Haynes, also commented on the team’s strong work ethic and noted, “We had lots of fun, too.”
Head Coach Mike Parkinson remarked on how “the sixth and seventh grade runners provided depth to the fast times our eighth graders ran and allowed Hood River to dominate in most of their contests.”
He added, “Rosie Thomas, Kate Seikkinen and Ava Kitt are standout sixth grade athletes and Jackson Bullock, Camden Moody and Aksel Kitt backed up the seventh and eighth grade runners as well.”