So is Lost River.
Both schools fielded entries Wednesday in the annual Henley Invitational 5K cross country meet for the first time in several seasons.
“I wanted to cross country, and we started to get things going my sophomore year and we were able to finally get it approved this year,” Bonanza junior Chris Eck said after he gave Wednesday’s meet one of its top push to the finish efforts.
Eck started his sprint to the finish with about 180 meters to go, almost caught Lakeview’s Paul Lindsley and eventually finished fifth overall in the boys meet, and completed his run on the hot, dusty day in 19 minutes, three seconds.
“It was mental,” Eck said.
Lindsley, which finished in 19:02, appeared to know Eck was a stride behind and began his own bolt toward the finish line.
“I saw him push and go for it, and I mentally shutdown,” Eck said. “It was the opposite of my last race (where he eyed the runner behind him and pushed ahead). It could have been better. I went out too fast.”
Several runners could claim “I could have done better” thoughts.
“I ran OK, but there are always little thing to improve on,” Henley’s Kira Morrow said after she won the girls race in 20:46, “but I’m happy with my race. It’s my home course, so it can get a little boring, so you have to push yourself.”
Henley’s almost flat course is, what Morrow said, light and day different from the course at Steen Sports Park where the Skyline Conference championships will be contested Wednesday, Oct.24, to determine teams and individuals who will advance to the Class 4A state championships.
“It gives you a little break on the legs,” Morrow said.
Bonanza, Lost River and Lakeview all will head to Valley of the Rogue State Park for their district meet Thursday, Oct. 25.
The Honkers were without some of their better runners, and had a few drop out of Wednesday’s race.
Kaley Schneider was one who did not, but a slight veer off course might have cost her second place in a meet dominated by Skyline Conference schools.
Morrow won the girls race in 20:46, almost a full minute ahead of Lupita Alegria of Phoenix.
Schneider was third, and timed in 21:59.
“You have to accept the good with the bad,” Schneider said of a young, freshmen dominated Lakeview team. “The whole team did really well. To have my (male) teammates cheering me on at the end really helped me.
“It was dusty, but I pushed through it. You have to learn how to push through things like that.”
OFF THE COURSE
■ Phoenix won the girls team title, while North Valley won the boys team title.
■ Both Bonanza and Lost River were among the schools with incomplete teams. Also incomplete in both races was Eagle Point.
■ Lakeview, Henley and Phoenix were the only schools to have complete teams, five or more runners to score, in both the boys and girls meet. Klamath Union, Mazama, North Valley and Hidden Valley also had complete boys teams.
■ Mazama’s first male runner to finish Wednesday was Zach Wallace, in third place,while Natalia Hernandez was the first Viking to finish the girls race and was 27th overall.
■ Noah Marshall of Phoenix won the boys meet in 17:25, with North Valley’s Patrick Clayburn second in 17:33.