Observer Staff

The Wallowa Valley cross country team, the combined Enterprise, Wallowa and Joseph co-op, opened the season with a pair of strong finishes at the Runners Soul XC Fest Saturday in Hermiston, with the girls team placing third and the boys placing second.

Four members of the Outlaw girls, who scored 86 points and trailed only Kennewick and Hermiston, placed in the top 25. Ellyse Tingelstad led the way in fourth (21:05.01) and Kyla Hook followed in 13th (22:08.57). In 21st and 23rd were Lucrezia Curcio (23:44.32) and Maddie Nordtvedt (23:56.91). Mary Catherine Matthews rounded out the top five Outlaws in 36th (25:06.20).

Jaimee Baxter led the Union/Cove Bobcats, who took fifth with 108 points, by finishing sixth in 21:06.02. Union then had a cluster of runners between 26th and 35th — Danielle O’Reilly (24:12.91, 26th), Kaitlin Martens (24:17.18, 28th), Audrey Wells (24:43.80, 32nd) and Audrey Hill (24:56.38, 35th).

Jacki Martini and Corbyn Sexton both finished in the top 20 to lead La Grande, which was seventh with 160 points. Martini finished 16th (22:13.72) and Sexton came in 19th (23:31.29). A pair of freshmen followed with Delia Gulzow placing 39th (25:27.80) and Anne Sweet in 49th (27:20.08). Bella Gulzow rounded out the Tigers’ top five in 62nd (29:11.63).

Elgin’s lone runner for the girls, Anika Jacobson, was 27th in a time of 24:15.99.

The Outlaw boys trailed only West Valley (Yakima) as they scored 89 points to take second, and put two runners in the top five. Henry Coughlan (16:44.20) came in second, and Zac Knapp (17:05.58) placed fourth. Brenden Moore (19:10.74) followed in 28th, while John Matthews (19:22.74) was 30th and Ian Goodrich (19:37.93) was 36th.

Union/Cove was close behind, taking third on the boys side with 97 points. The Bobcats had three in the top 15 and four in the top 21. Andrew Lackey (17:29.16) led the team in 10th, with Taylor Fox (17:59.77) in 13th, Israel O’Reilly (18:26.34) in 15th and Carter Blackburn (18:59.14) in 21st. Monte Kirby rounded out the top five for Union/Cove in 48th (20:09.58).

The La Grande boys scored 194 points to place seventh. Cristian Mendoza (17:16.45) led the Tigers in fifth. Braxton Bisenius (19:05.23) followed in 26th. Donald Sweet (20:13.26) placed 50th, Garrett Street (20:39.33) was 58th and Caleb Murie (21:49.47) was 76th.

Elgin, which was 13th, was led by Kaden McClure in 42nd at 19:59.83. Kevin Hendrickson (22:25.13) was 79th, the only other Husky to crack the top 80.

The teams are back in action Friday at the Catherine Creek Scamper in Union.