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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Experience, passion help Tigers set course for cross country success

With what amounts to two exhibitions under their heels, the Taft High cross country team opens with its first true competition of the fall season Tuesday at the Amity Invite.

“Our strengths are experience and passion,” coach Eva Ahumada said of her team’s strengths with the 5,000-meter event scheduled Tuesday afternoon at Keeler Estate Vineyards. “Every person on this team is here because they want to be here and is excited to see what we can achieve. It is a fairly new team, but we have already made so much progress and are starting to come together as a family.”

Hunter Lundstedt and Lucas Hindman are expected to be the heads of the family on the boys side, while fellow senior Autumn Ellis will serve as statesman for the girls.

Lucas Hindman, left, Hunter Lundstedt and Finnish foreign exchange student Matias Vesma

“Hunter and Lucas have been in cross country for four years now and will be leading the boys team, both in speed and training,” Ahumada said. “Autumn is our leading girl and has been a powerful force in revamping the girls cross country team.”

New faces will also be prominent in any success the Tigers enjoy this season, Ahumada said.

“All of our freshmen boys are coming into the team with a lot of talent and drive,” she said.

The freshmen boys led the way in taking the top three positions for the Tigers in the opening 2-mile Trial at Cottage Grove and last Saturday’s Ultimook Race near Tillamook, which can be better described as a human mud bog.

Ahumada said she also likes what she’s seen from junior newcomer Rafael Perez.

“He ran long distance for track last season and so far has proven to be a very promising runner,” she said.

Team-wise, aiming for representation at State is the primary objective.

“The ultimate goal is to make it to State,” Ahumada said. “I am hoping to have the boys team make it to State again this year. Autumn has really been pushing it this season. I would really like to see her make it to State.”

Conditioning will be key in achieving a boys team invite or any individual qualifiers to State.

“Endurance is the area where we need the most work,” Ahumada said. “We have a lot of natural talent, and we have a lot of speed, but cross country is a mind race. Training the athletes to overcome this mind block so they can race to their fullest potential will definitely be the focus of this season.”

Ahumada said she expects Harrisburg to be her team’s toughest competition this season.

“They have a lot of returning seniors that make up their varsity team,” she said. “They took first at the District meet last year, and our boys will really have to work hard this season if they way to reclaim that title this year. I am excited to work with this team and to see what we can accomplish together.”

Class 3A Special District 2

Blanchet Catholic
Salem Academy
Santiam Christian


Saturday, Aug. 31
  2 Mile Trial
Saturday, Sept. 7
  Ultimook Race
Tuesday, Sept. 10
  Amity Invite Keeler Estate Vineyards
Thursday, Sept. 19
  Nestucca Cape Kiwanda Challenge
Saturday, Sept. 21
  Newport Equinox Run
Saturday, Sept. 28
  Toledo XC Challenge
Friday, Oct. 4
  Flat & Fast Invitational
Tuesday, Oct. 8
  Willamina @ Fort Yamhill
Saturday, Oct. 19
  Warner Pacific XC Classic
Thursday, Oct. 31
  3A/2A/1A-SD2 District 2 Championships


Coach: Eva Ahumada

  • Lucas Hindman – Senior
  • Autumn Ellis – Senior
  • Ethan Price – Senior
  • Hunter Lundstedt – Senior 
  • Alani Cabal – Senior
  • Brooke Orendorff – Senior
  • Rafael Perez Del Valle – Junior
  • Veronica Jin – Junior
  • Claira Tolan – Junior
  • Zander Hryczyk – Sophomore
  • Joseph McCormick – Sophomore
  • Angelo Cruz Garcia – Freshman
  • Cooper Fitch – Freshman
  • Eli Jones – Freshman
Jim Fossum
Jim Fossumhttp://SilverandBlackToday.com
Homepage Executive Editor and former longtime Sports Editor of the near-200,000 circulation Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fossum brings 40 years of award-winning experience covering virtually every facet of print and digital journalism to Lincoln City Homepage. The former longtime reporter for the Newport News-Times and Lincoln City News Guard is also Editor-in-Chief and Senior Columnist for SilverandBlackToday.com, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.


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