With the Intermountain Conference District races coming up Wednesday, The Dalles cross country squad is making its state-qualifying case.
Emma Mullins, Zoe Orion and Evan Despain captured individual titles, and both the boys’ junior varsity and varsity groups picked up team victories at the Kyle Burnside Wildhorse Invitational held Thursday in Pendleton.
“It was an excellent day for our kids,” TD head coach Bob Thouvenel said. “I thought that Emma, Zoe and Evan all ran outstanding races, with each taking the lead at the beginning of each race and not relinquishing their leads.”
Overall, the Riverhawks racked up 27 personal bests and five season-best marks, out of 40 participants, with Samuel Alvarez and Mullins moving up the all-time list for the program.
Mullins, a senior, locked in a personal-record time of 19 minutes and 13.9 seconds to secure her fourth win in eight varsity races this season, which moved the Hawks to second place in the team standings with 72 points, 17 behind first-place Enterprise.
The Riverhawk boys’ varsity group tallied 56 points, as the top six runners placed in the top-20, all with times of less than 17:10, led by Alvarez’s fourth-place, personal-record of 15:55.0, making him the only runner since Alex Dillard to end a race under 16 minutes.
Orion won the junior varsity girls’ race after her season-best time of 22:29.6, nearly 30 seconds better than Enterprise’s Charlotte McDonald (22:58.9).
Despain headlined the junior varsity boys with his personal-record of 17:43.6, finishing ahead of teammates Diego Minguela (18:20.8) and Spencer Coburn (18:34.6), which gave the team 20 points for top honors.
Conor Blair was sixth-best amongst the junior varsity field of 68 harriers after his mark of 18:46.1, Aaron Pyles hit a 19:09.3 to nab eighth, and Ivan Rodriguez, a sophomore, crossed the finish line in 19:25.7 for 10th place.
Angel Oregon (19:30.8), Austin Agidius (19:42.6), Colin Shubert (19:49.9), John Cole (20:04.9), Hayden Pashek (20:51.5), Will Evans (21:19.5), Logan Alvarez (22:12.8), and Leonardo Saveri (23:56.6) made up the rest of the junior varsity squad.
Friedrich Stelzer was ninth following his 16:23.2, Gabe Lira had a 16:35.2 for 11th place, Nick Caracciolo grabbed 15th place with his 17:00.7, Zack Ziegenhagen ended up with a 17:05.3 to take 17th place, and Rey Aviluz put forth a 17:08.5 for 19th place.
Rounding out TD’s varsity runners were David Wring (17:20.8), Gavin Cates (17:39.4), and Noah Holloran (17:43.3).
After Mullins, Hanna Ziegenhagen placed fifth in the varsity event with a time of 19:46.1, Liz Tapia added a 20:58.7 for 18th place, and Fonetia Duyck (21:27.5) claimed 25th place.
Caitie Wring (21:42.4), Emily Johnson (22:03.2), Savannah Strassheim (22:07.2), Aurelia Hill (23:02.6), and Ashley Quisenberry (23:52.7), all represented the final few varsity contenders.
Bree Webber placed fifth in the junior varsity run with a solid 23:42.9, Raine Codding timed out in 24:34.3 to secure the ninth-best mark out of 34, and Shea McAllister (27:29.4) placed 24th, and Ellie Codding (27:51.8) finished 25th.
Sarah Winters (28:52.2), Keisha Oregon (32:47.8), and Kai Hoff (36:43.4) were the other Riverhawk placers that gave the team 28 points for second place, one point behind Pendleton (27).
The IMC District Meet is scheduled to run at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Barnes Butte in Prineville.
Thouvenel feels that his athletes are peaking at the right time, but the varsity girls will be tested against state and district title favorite, Hood River Valley.
The varsity boys’ race is expected to come down to Crook County, HRV, and The Dalles.
“One, two or even three points could separate the three teams,” Thouvenel said. “We have to continue our good times and run close together to make it to state. It should be an excellent race for first and second places at the district meet.”