Sheehy leads Bobcat runners to victory in Vale
VALE — Only one team counted Friday when it came to the Vale Halftime Invitational Friday.
Union was the only boys team with five runners and actually brought more than half the field of 17 runners to race during the Vikings home opener against Parma, Idaho. Neither Vale, Burns or La Grande could field a scoring squad of five runners for the meet.
Coach Steve Sheehy sent nine runners to the line and junior Riley Sheehy was the first to finish in 11:09 for the 3,000-meter course. Sophomore Ethan Black gave the Bobcats a one-two punch with his second-place finish in 11:13, just ahead of La Grande’s only runners — Eliott Jonasson (11:16) and Noah McLean (11:22).
Freshman Samuel O’Reilly was fifth in 11:23, just a step behind McLean, in his first race for the Union varsity.
Daniel Colton came in seventh (11:32), followed by Harris Lackey (ninth, 11:32) as the Bobcats’ fifth man.
Cory Andrews (12:00) and Zack Wyllie (12:05) came in 11th and 12th in the race, to round out the Union scorers.
Freshmen Chase Stewart (13:31) and Jaren Hackwith (16:47) placed 16th and 17th in the meet.
“This is a fun meet to go to,” the Union coach said.
“Because the girls and boys both run at the halftime of the varsity football game.”
The next race on the Union schedule will be Saturday’s Runners Soul Fest at Hermiston’s Sandstone Middle School.
“We will get to see what we can do on a full-length course Saturday,” the coach added.
In the middle school race, Union had two seventh-grade runners take third and sixth.
Alex Graffunder was third in 10:17, while Jeremy Baxter was sixth in 10:34.
For La Grande’s new coach Talia Welch, there were some highlights — her top runner (Jonasson) improved his time from last year by 20 seconds and had McLean right behind him at the finish.
La Grande will be one of 16 teams competing Saturday in Hermiston. Among the teams will be Greater Oregon League rival McLoughlin, along with 5A and 6A squads from Hemiston and Oregon City, respectively.
In addition to Union, Elgin will also be competing in the
Lady Cats win, Tigers
VALE — The defending state championship team from Union made Friday’s Halftime Invitational look more like a warm-up as they cruised to an easy win over the short course race.
Junior Katriel O’Reilly led Union to five finishers in the top seven as the Lady Cats romped to an easy 20-point win.
Vale edged La Grande for second in the team scoring by one point — 66 to 67, while Burns settled for fourth with 78 points.
O’Reilly ran the short 2,600-meter course in 10:06 for the win, followed by teammate McKenzie Evans (10:32) in second place.
Burns’ Madison Winn grabbed third (10:37) while her teammate Madelyn Gunderson was 12th (12:07), but the rest of their team would not get to the finish line for more than two minutes later.
That large gap in the top five allowed both Vale and La Grande to put their scoring runners ahead of the third Burns runner.
Stormy Ballard gave Union a fourth place finish (10:57), while La Grande’s Amanda Welch took fifth in 11:20, followed by Lynn Shoemaker (11:32) and freshman Elly Wells (11:42) in sixth and seventh place.
Jackie Wanta gave La Grande two runners in the top 10 finishers when she came in eighth with a time of 11:46.
Morgan Reddington of Union/Cove gave her team a ninth-place finish in 11:56, which meant coach Steve Sheehy had six of his runners finish in the top nine places in the race.
Freshman Sarah Brazil was 13th in 12:10 as the seventh Union runner to finish, while Alexandra Griffiths and Kendra Hackwith placed 15th and 16th in the race with times of 12:26 and 12:39, respectively.
Josey Koehn was 23rd in 16:19, while Molly Del Curto took 24th in 16:26.
According to Union coach Steve Sheehy, the Lady Cats did well.
“I was very pleased with our girls’ performance. We put five girls in the top seven. We had great runs by Katriel, McKenzie and Stormy as usual. And Lynn and freshman Elly really ran well — coming in sixth and seventh overall to complete our top five.”
Eighth-grader Kathryn Sheehy placed third in the 2,500-meter middle school race in a time of 11:02.
In the battle between La Grande and Vale for second in the meet, the Tigers got off to a good start by putting two runners ahead of Vale’s top finisher, sophomore Kimber Hawkins (10th, 12:05).
However, the Lady Vikings were able to put all five scorers in front of La Grande’s third finisher, Hayley Crews, who placed 19th overall in 13:05. Grace Ridder followed in 20th (13:46).
Freshman Laney Woods was 21st in her first race with a time of 13:49.
Jessica Timm finished fourth in the junior varsity race with a time of 13:50.
According to new cross country coach Talia Welch, Crews improved her time over a year ago by 32 seconds.