Vale cross country ready to hit the course

VALE – Mary Chamberlain, Vale High School cross country coach, has little use for preseason polls in which coaches forecast where teams will place at the state tournament.

Chamberlain said she had not looked at the boys, but the survey had the Vale girls ranked 10th in the state.

“I think we’re better than that considering the lineup of girls that are coming back, but that’s another coach’s feel,” she said.

Chamberlain said the boys and girls squads have all but one athlete returning this year.

For the girls, the Vikings have Addie Saunders, a sophomore who finished in the top 20 at last year’s state meet, Elli Jacobs, a sophomore, Emma Carpenter, a sophomore, Megan Schoorl, a sophomore, Hazel McKrola, a sophomore, Elizabeth Fritts, a junior and seniors Bahlie Morales and Harley Belnap.

Returning for the boys are Trevor Stewart, a senior who took fourth at the state meet, Ryan Rodgers, a senior, Luis Vera-Antonio, a junior and sophomores Jayden Hansen, Wyatt Cox and Zach Stewart.

Stewart and Saunders are off to a good start this season. Both athletes won their respective races Thursday, Aug. 24, at Vale’s home meet, the Dash-N-Splash.

The boys finished fourth as a team against five other squads, while the girls took third against the two teams they faced.

Chamberlain said Stewart and Duncan Fritts, a freshman, trained this summer at Steens Running Camp – a high altitude running camp near Burns.

She said both squads need to stay healthy and put in the mileage so that the entire teams can make a run at the state title this year.

She said the boys team has not made it to the state contest in over 30 years, while the girls have not appeared as a team in just over 10.

She said both squads put in over 20 miles of running a week on average to get to the final contest.

“It takes dedication to get to state,” Chamberlain said. “It’s a whole different mentality.”

Members of the Vale High School cross country team hit the hills for training on Wednesday, Aug. 30. (LES ZAITZ/The Enterprise)

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