More than 900 student athletes participated Monday in the Vail Ranch Middle School 2012 Cross Country Invitational, racing for medals and enjoying running with their friends in one of the area’s largest student athletic events.
Fifteen public and private middle schools from the Temecula Valley up to Riverside and as far away as San Bernardino County sent teams of girls and boys in grades 5-8 to race.
In all, 911 students ran, said Steve White, a physical education teacher at Vail Ranch Middle School in Temecula. This was the middle school’s first year hosting the event, which kicked off about 8 a.m. and lasted until about noon.
Schools came from Temecula, Murrieta, Riverside, Jurupa Valley, Hemet, Idyllwild and San Jacinto, among the many communities where middle schools sent teams to race.
Plenty of students and hundreds of parents were on hand to line the race route and cheer for their teammates and friends as the students ran three kilometers, or 1.86 miles. There was just as much cheering for the students who brought up the ends of the races, as well as the winners.
White said the event was great for students who liked running or were interested in taking up cross-country in high school.
“It’s a great portal for them to go into high school to because it’s a fall sport. It’s a great way to get into a group,” White said.
Gallery courtesy of Amy Bentley/SWRNN:
Hannah Jacoby and Alli McAdoo were among the sixth-grade girls from Vail Ranch Middle School who participated. Both girls sported medals – Hannah for placing 12th and Alli for placing fourth in their races.
“I love running,” Hannah said. “This is fun because number one, you get to run and number two, you have all your friends here to cheer you on. Being with your friends is the best part.”
Alli said cross-country is a fun sport, and, “More kids should try it.”
Mike Goltry, a longtime PE teacher at Jurupa Valley Middle School in the new city of Jurupa Valley near Riverside, brought a team of seventh and eighth graders to the event. He said it was the first time some of the seventh graders got to participate in a large meet against other schools.
“The competition is great. They can come out here and do their best,” Goltry said.
Wesley Bowen, an eighth grader at Vail Ranch Middle School, said he’s participated in cross–country events for three years. “It’s pretty fun. We play most of the time and run for 20 minutes.”
Results of Monday’s races at Vail Ranch will be posted this week online at www.finishedresults.com. Medals went to the top 20 finishers in each division and the winning teams received plaques.
The next big cross-country event for middle school student runners is the Diamond Valley Lake Cross Country Invitational at the Valley Wide Recreation Center in Hemet on Nov. 8, hosted by Dartmouth Middle School in Hemet.
Amy Bentley is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.