Six Running Unlimited Fitness athletes picked up berths in the national USA Track and Field Junior Olympic cross country meet with strong efforts at the regional competition Saturday, Nov. 17, at Mead High School in Spokane.
Another RUFit and Oak Harbor High School runner, Christina Wicker, competed in the Border Clash Nov. 17 at the Nike complex in Beaverton, Ore., placing 39th (17:09, 4.4K) out of 80 in a race between the best high-school runners from Washington and Oregon.
The Washington girls won the meet for the fifth consecutive year with three Washington runners (led by Glacier Peak's Amy-Eloise Neale, 5:33) breaking the course record.
The USATF regional meet included runners from Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The national championship meet is Saturday, Dec. 8, at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque.
Jonalynn Horn (intermediate girls, 15/16), John Rodeheffer (intermediate boys), Gavin Stewart (intermediate boys), Laura Rodeheffer (youth girls, 13-14), Ryan Vasileff (midget boys, 11/12) and Dylan Rydell (midget boys) all qualified for the national championships.
Horn ran a personal record 19:38 (5K) to finish second, running "strong and determined," according to coach Catie Rodeheffer.
John Rodeheffer placed fourth (16:52, 5K) and Stewart 14th (17:53) in the intermediate race. "Both ran aggressively, always pushing to be competitive with the runner around them," according to coach Rodeheffer.
Laura Rodeheffer, Vasileff and Rydell, since RUFit did not have enough runners (five) to form a team in their age groups, were "shared" with other clubs, helping their teams to division titles.
Laura Rodeheffer finished 25th in a season PR (16:16, 4K) for the winning Whatcom Tesseract.
Vasileff (11:02, 3K) and Rydell (12:25) ran PRs to finish 11th and 50th as the Cascade Striders won the midget boys division.
In the youth boys (13/14) 4K race, Miguel Guzman PRed to finish 27th (14:46) and Logan Clark placed 42nd (15:05).
Megan Keating (midget girls) ran a PR (12:23, 3K) to place 34th in a strong field. Coach Rodeheffer said Keating's time would have placed her in the top 20 in 2011.
Mallorie Mitchem PRed in the youth girls 4K race, finishing 34th (16:45).
Riley Williamson (bantam boys, 9/10) ran the 3K in a personal-best 14:09.
Running Unlimited Fitness will continue with practices through the winter for ages 5 through 18; new members are always welcome. Coach Rodeheffer said it is "a great way to get ready for spring sports."
For more information, call Rodeheffer at 279-2196, or visit www.rufit.ws.
(In the photo by Bill Rodeheffer, RUFit's John Rodeheffer (259) runs with David Conway of North Idaho (19) and Kirby Overman of Bellingham (500). Rodeheffer went on to finish fourth, Conway eighth and Overman third.)