Cross Country Review

That’s a wrap!

This year’s cross country season ended with a bang on November 21 in Charlotte, NC. After traveling across the country for the big dance, both Yote squads proved they were forces to be reckoned with.

The day kicked off in the morning with the men’s race. The course overall was relatively flat, with one climb in the middle. As soon as the men’s race started, it was apparent that they hadn’t come to Charlotte just for fun. The men put together a race where everyone ran solid and it earned them a top finish in program history. The men finished in 7th place with a total of 222 points, a score that would normally flirt with receiving a trophy. Max Hampton led the squad with a 14th place, All-American finish. Not far behind were the two top freshman in the NAIA in Austin Fred and Billy Godfrey who finished 44th and 51st respectively. Bringing in the rest of the team was Dylan Walker, Miles Ranck, Matt Goodwin, and Dan Williams. The men’s team was the first team in the race to get all 7 runners across the finish line.

Soon after the conclusion of the men’s race, the women were on the line. The women also put together a solid race amassing a total of 312 points and an 8th place finish when it was all said and done. The women’s race also featured an All-American showing from the Lady Yote Amy Pfaff with a 26th place finish. Tying in the front running trio were  Ruth Lewinski and Lila Klopfenstein who were just outside of All-American status. The rest of the nationals squad featured Kaitlyn Schut, Emily Hawgood, Mishal Cotungo, and Tamika Russell.

The day came to a close with the entire Yote squad earning the 4th place combined trophy, tying the best combined finish in program history. The overall goal heading into track season is to carry this momentum over into the winter season and especially into the spring. Both squads are looking to contend for a conference championship. This Saturday, December 5th, we will be holding our first ever Track & Field retreat. This in house event will host a number of guest speakers, competitive events, and an alumni panel with the goal of bringing the squads together before the spring season even starts.

Stay tuned as part of the squad will kickoff the season on January 15th of the New Year at the Nampa indoor.


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An Overdue Update

Better late than never!

This morning as Pat and I contemplated what needed to be done before we leave for the national meet on Wednesday, we realized an update on the team may be in order. After all, we’ve been on a bit of a hiatus for the past month.

On November 7th the teams both competed in the Cascade Conference Championships. This meet paired both Yote squads up against the number one teams in the nation for their respective genders. The men had a showdown against Southern Oregon and the women faced a tough Northwest Christian team. Regardless of these opponents, the goal was still for both teams to win a conference title.

The men’s race kicked off first at 11am, just in time for the scheduled rainstorm that day. The course consisted of a rigorous 2k loop that the men followed four times around Corban College’s athletic fields. Early on the men looked great and hit the attack point with a full head of steam. As the race progressed SOU made a late push and edged out the men’s squad by a score of 29-48. Regardless of score, the men’s team raced about as well as they could have from top to bottom. Individually there were three Yotes who received All Conference honors as Max Hampton, Austin Fred, and Billy Godfrey placed 2nd, 5th, and 8th respectively. Austin’s performance also earned him the prestigious, “race of the day” honor from Pat.

The women’s race followed shortly after at noon during the worst part of the rainstorm. The women course featured a small 1k loop to start the race, followed by two loops around the 2k course the men followed. The women race in similar fashion to the men, but were pitted against a dominant NCU squad. The women’s team finished a sound second beating out the third place team by a score of 60-101. Individually the women’s team shared in the success, with three lady Yotes earning All Conference honors. Amy Pfaff, Ruth Lewinski, and Lila Klopfenstein finished the day earning 4th, 8th, and 10th place honors respectively. The coveted, “race of the day” honor was given to Mishal Cotugno for her engagement throughout the course.

The two squads both earned at large bids to the national meet this weekend in Charlotte, NC. Both squads look to be competitive at the top end of the meet as there are a number of teams in the NAIA who could make a push to trophy and place in the top 4 overall.

Following the national meet there will be a large break in action until indoor track & field kicks off for part of the squads on January 15th. Before this large break, the teams will attend a team retreat on The College of Idaho campus on December 5th. The goal of this retreat is to try and get a jump start on team unity before the squads are fully immersed in the season. The retreat will feature seminars, guest speakers, team challenges, meals, and even an alumni panel!

Stay tuned for an update on the National XC meet!

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An Epic Tale of the Purple & White Showdown

The sun was just rising behind the monster climb at the start of the course for this year’s annual Purple and White race. The cold air was cracked at 8:05 am by the voice of Pat McCurry yelling GO! Just like that, the women’s race was off, beginning one of the most highly anticipated alumni races of all time. It was a different year but the same story, Alumni and Freshman (white team) pairing up to take a crack at the veterans of the program (purple team).

When the women emerged from the grueling corners of the quad, it was apparent that the race was going to come down to a race between a group of four Yotes. The race was lead by alumnus Hillary Holt, behind her was the race for the team crown. The pack contained a pair of current athletes (Amy Pfaff & Ruth Lewinski) and a pair of alums (Sora Klopfenstein & Ashley Heller) which proved to be the difference as all four ladies finished within a mere three seconds of each other. The order of these four ended up being Pfaff, Lewinski, Klopfenstein, and Heller; a pivotal point in the race as the final score was White- 29 Purple-26. The deal was sealed with the depth of purple team overpowering the white team. Quickly after this pack of four were three more purple uniforms (L. Klopfenstein, Hawgood, and Eagleton).

A second time the cool air was cracked with Pat McCurry shouting GO! This time, it was for the men’s race. Just as highly anticipated, this race featured some key match ups in the front with alum Greg Montgomery and current athlete Max Hampton. Nobody can recall what happened in the quad, but around the final turn the race was put in perspective. A very close race broke out between Hampton and Montgomery, with Hampton emerging the victor in the final few meters. Not far behind, a second key race emerged between Fred and Nordquist as Nordquist narrowly missed catching Fred from behind. The true difference in the men’s race for the crown was overall won by the depth of the purple team. The trio of purple runners (Nordquist, Walker, & Goodwin) proved to be a large deciding factor in the the final result. Wrapping up the scoring was protege Quinn Radbourne putting the hurt on his aging middle-distance mentor Dominic Bolin just near the finish. This pushed purple to the victory of 25 points to white’s 30 points.

Overall, it was a great get together of the Yote Track & Field family. The race was followed up by tailgating and is a tradition that we look to continue building upon in the coming falls. Once again, thank you for your attendance.

Go Yotes!

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Chukar Chaos in Weiser

Better late than never! A brisk morning in Weiser provided the challenge of some key rivals (EOU & NNU) with an extra helping of community college opponents (TVCC & Clark College).  After a bit of confusion on the results, there was one thing all coaches could agree on. Both Yote teams handily won the overall meet.

The women did so by  placing their five runners in the top seven overall. The order of Lady Yote top finishers was Lewinski, Pfaff, Klopfenstein, Schut, and Hawgood. This lead to an overall dominating score 18 points, with the second place team a distant 28 points away. The men had a very similar story to the women and finished with a victory as well by placing five runners in the top eight. The way was paved by Hampton tailed by Fred, Goodwin, Nordquist, and Walker. The men’s team posted an overall score of 26 and put a HUGE 49 point gap on second place EOU.

Races of the day went to a pair of newcomers to this year’s program. Freshman Collin Tracy took the men’s award and transfer junior Mishal Contugno took the women’s honor. Tracy displayed what Pat referred to as one of the best racing improvements that he could recall. Tracy did not run cross country in high school, but showed promise as he stuck to the race plan throughout. Contugno earned the award in a similar fashion by showing massive improvement from the first race of the year and excellent execution through navigating the five kilometer course.

Following this race, a three week buildup has begun towards the next meet in Missoula on October 3rd. As I finish writing this Pat and I are gearing up to ready the course for the Purple & White Alumni Race. In case you don’t know, races start at 8 am and we would love to have your attendance. As I said at the start of this article, it’s better late than never! So shotgun that last minute fitness and we’ll see you tomorrow.

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A Mountaineer Mutilation

Saturday proved to be an overall dominating performance for the Yote’s cross country season kickoff. The cross country teams started the trend of dominating the Mountaineers  in front of the early tailgating crew readying for the 1pm football game between the Yotes and Mountaineers.

The men placed four ahead of Eastern’s first runner and won by a score of 17-42. The top five placers for the Yote men were Max Hampton, Austin Fred, Matt Goodwin, Dylan Walker, and Eric Nordquist. The women’s team one upped the men’s team and placed seven…. that’s right, seven, ahead of Eastern’s front runner. The performance earned a dominating score of 15-50. The women placed in the order of Ruth Lewinski, Amy Pfaff, Emily Hawgood, Kaitlyn Schut, and Ashtyn Ellis.

Races of the day went to freshman Kaitlyn Schut on the women’s side and Senior Matt Goodwin on the men’s. Goodwin earned race of the day through showing improvement in some prior weaknesses of his racing career. Matt finished the course with a kick that shows his progression as a racer and helped navigate freshman Austin Fred through the course. Kaitlyn earned race of the day through committing to the race plan given to her and went out on a limb to earn herself the fourth place finish on the women’s side.

Overall both teams kicked off the season with a very solid start. The results showed that summer training was well executed and that both teams have a shot at a stellar season. The progression starts this week, and in the wise word of Pat, “It’s time to get to work.”

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Season Update

This weekend (May 1-2) the season is wrapping up with a limited squad competing at BSU in search of just a few more key conference marks, and for others just to get more competition reps in, it is also the last meet for those not competing at conference.

Last week big things were happening on both the men and women squads!

The week of awesomeness began with a win in the conference heptathlon from Tiana Thomas. She scored a whopping score of 4,517 points, the second highest mark in school history. She claimed victories in the 100 meter hurdles (14.85), high jump (1.51), the 200 meters (26.08) and the 800 meter run (2:24.11). She also hit huge personal bests in both the shot put and the javelin and will be playing the waiting game to see if she made the top 16 for her bid to nationals, but things are looking good!

In addition to Tiana’s win, the team had a great meet at the EOU invitational in Hermiston Friday evening. Amy Pfaff hit an automatic qualifying time in the 1500 while Nichole DeGrange achieved the same in the 400m (56.99). DeGrange’s time in the 400m also managed to get there the school record. Adding to the list of broken school records was Jessica Aguilar in the shot put with a heave of 13.02 meters.

The men’s team also fared well at the EOU invitational. The sprinters really showed that they want big things at conference. The 4×100 ran sub 43.oo while the men also had great marks in the 100 and 200.

Athletes of the Meet:

Jessica Aguilar- for her record-breaking throw in the shot put and her crazy effort of endurance. After throwing for five hours her throw of 13.02 came on her last throw of the evening. She was throwing hammer, disc and shot consecutively! Not only did she show so much physical strength but also mental toughness and come championship time those two traits will pay off!

Malik Whitfield- he had lifetime bests in both the 100 and 200 while also anchoring the 4×100. He with the rest of the team showed great energy and focus when the meet drug on through wind and not very deep fields of competitors.


Previous Athletes of the Meet:

EOU Team Challenge: Nichole DeGrange and Garrett Norris
Jenn Boyman Invite (Linfield): Tiana Thomas and Taylor Oppedyk
John Knight Twilight (WOU): Amy Pfaff and Cam DeBruler

Conference Championship outlook:

On the men’s side, they will be in the middle of the pack after some unfortunate and untimely injuries this spring, the team will be looking to focus on strong individual performances to set up a big team next year as they will be returning almost everyone and a great recruiting class will be coming in.

As far as the women are concerned they will be making a run at their 3rd CONSECUTIVE title, but it will be a very close battle with Concordia, and both SOU and EOU will be nipping at the heels of those two top teams. The women however are stoked to get to Ashland and get after it! Hungry lady coyotes they are!!

The Conference Championship meet will be Friday May 8th and Saturday May 9th at Southern Oregon University’s new facility.

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