WINCHESTER — Jenna Anderson ran — almost — like she didn’t hurt.
She also ran like there wasn’t another race to be run after the Northwest Athletic Conference Southern Region Championships.
For most of the runners in Saturday’s field, there is another cross country race, but for the former Roseburg High star, a couple nagging injuries led her and Umpqua Community College coach CJ Kozlowski to agree that the home course would be Anderson’s last XC run for the Riverhawks.
“I have a stress reaction going on in my leg, from all the way back in my senior year of high school, and I’m hoping to heal that up,” said Anderson after finishing the 5,000-meter run sixth overall in 22 minutes and 30 seconds. “My coach is getting me a lifting schedule to strengthen me up and then I hope to start running half marathons.”
Kozlowski pointed to another issue Anderson has been dealing with: a muscle issue that is also affecting her stride.
“Jenna has been having some knee issues, there’s a pretty big imbalance in one of her glutes and it’s just not firing,” Kozlowski said. “We’ll shut her down and get her healthy for spring or whatever we do.”
For a final race, Anderson was pleased.
“I had a couple times where I was a little bit woo-ooo, and then I tried to kick it on the track,” Umpqua’s lone female sophomore said. “Most races, you’re a little afraid of putting it all out there because you don’t want to injure yourself and cost yourself the rest of the season, but here, it was a good time to just lay it all out there and show everybody what I’ve been doing all season.”
For a first-year program, Umpqua performed well at the regional championships, and admirably by way of hosting the event on a course carved out of the campus hillside in July and August by athletic director Craig Jackson.
“It was a good race — it ran a lot faster than i thought it would,” said Kozlowski. “Our guys tempoed the course last week, and it was about four minutes slower than they were used to (running), but the top girls and guys, they were flying today. It was pretty impressive.”
Treasure Valley’s Delia Deleon led virtually the entire women’s race and toured the course in 19:58.
A freshman from Nyssa, near the Idaho border, Deleon found the course challenging and rewarding.
“This is my first time on a course like this,” Deleon said. “I thought it was pretty tough, a lot of hills. Going up those big hills and then recovering after (was a challenge).”
Umpqua’s runners knew what to expect on the course, and for the most part it showed. Other teams had more experienced runners, whereas the Riverhawks are still building their squad’s strength.
“I feel like we trained the hill a lot, and that gave us an advantage,” said Anderson. “But on this course, strong people will do well on it no matter what.”
Men’s winner Michael Martin of Lane deemed it the toughest 8,000 meter course he’s faced.
“It was pretty tough, really hilly,” said Martin, a sophomore originally out of South Eugene High. “You have to chill a bit on the first loop, loop and a half. We definitely didn’t go out too fast, which is a good thing. It helped in the end.
“I haven’t run on any courses tougher than this, we haven’t been running on anything quite like this. I’m sure you could make it a little harder, but...”
Martin finished in a respectable 25:56 and felt it was a nice confidence builder heading into the NWAC Championships in two weeks.
“I tried to flatten it out as best we could,” said Kozlowski. “We used the trails here, what we have. There’s a long enough downhill that you can really gain some speed. If you practice hills at all, you should be good for it.”
“In high school, this course would be more normal,” said Anderson. “In college, it’s more flat and fast like golf-course type courses. I think that people weren’t expecting this, even though we told them it was hilly.
“They probably thought there would be a couple of hills, but this is 75 percent hills, so I don’t think anybody was anticipating this.”
That was proven out by the times.
Treasure Valley’s Indya Price was second the women’s race in 21:20, and the Chukars had three runners in the top four as they edged Clark for the title, 32-44.
UCC started with five runners — enough to place in the team standings — but had one girl withdraw and finished incomplete.
Lane was third with 48 points and Southwestern Oregon took fourth with 98 points. Clackamas and Mt. Hood also had incomplete teams.
Roseburg High graduate Reesha Carnine finished 16th as Lane’s No. 5 finisher.
On the men’s side, Martin led a 1-2-3 Titan sweep that went a long way toward earning LCC the team title. Treasure Valley had four runners in the top nine, but it’s fifth runner finished three places behind Lane’s No. 5. The Titans scored 27 points, TVCC finished with 44 and Clark had 66.
Umpqua finished sixth in the men’s team standings with 133 points.
Treasure Valley’s runners — who nearly got to run on their home course — were perhaps the biggest cheerleaders for not just the Chukars, but for all the teams.
They lined the finish chute to greet both UCC’s Lance Bioy and SWOCC’s Matthew Kashiwamura with applause and high-fives. Bioy finished 40th, Kashiwamura was 41st and the final runner to complete the race.
“I wasn’t too concerned about hosting,” Kozlowski said. “At my last school, I hosted the last four region championships this same weekend, so I’m used to putting on a meet, and field-wise 40, 41 athletes in each race, that’s about what I’m used to, so that wasn’t much of a challenge.
“Luckily the course takes care of itself for the most part. I didn’t really feel it was my place to host it, being our first year, but no one else stepped up and I didn’t really feel like driving to Treasure Valley (in Ontario, like Nyssa on the Idaho border) as our second option. So, I figured just do it here and bring people to Roseburg.”
NWAC SOUTHERN REGION CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Umpqua Community College
Team Scores: Treasure Valley 32, Clark 44, Lane 48, Southwestern Oregon 98, Umpqua inc., Clackamas inc., Mt. Hood inc.
Top 10 Individuals: 1. Delia Deleon, TVCC, 19:58; 2. Indya Price, TVCC, 21:20; 3. Lizzye Rybalka, Clark, 21:37; 4. Naomi Gonzalez, TVCC, 21:53; 5. Natalia Urtiaga, Clark, 22:00; 6. Jenna Anderson, UCC, 22:30; 7. Carly Kleefeld, Lane, 22:50; 8. Rielly Frerk, Lane, 22:51; 9. Aislynn Hansen, Clark, 23:04; 10. Lyubov Meksheneva, Clark, 23:15.
Other Umpqua finishers: 24. Moira Sheldon, 27:21; 27. Bailey Payne, 27:45; 30. Adrionna Taylor, 28.50.
Team scores: Lane 27, Treasure Valley 44, Clark 66, Mt. Hood 98, Southwestern Oregon 123, Umpqua 133, Clackamas inc..
Top 10 individuals: 1. Michael Martin, Lane, 25:56; 2. Andy Muha, Lane, 26:22; 3. Moises Martinez, Lane, 26.36; 4. Levi Lewis, TVCC, 26:43; 5. Sam Andersen, Clark, 27:43; 6. Jarod Hulsizer, Clark, 27:47; 7. Jacob Shaffeld, TVCC, 28:02; 8. Carlos Lamas, TVCC, 28:12; 9. Benjen Lilly, TVCC, 28:36; 10. Nolan Bylenga, Lane, 28:52.
Umpqua finishers: 29. Lyle Lee, 32:29; 30. Wayne Jaworski 32.36; 31. Steele Leavey 32:55; 38. Isaiah Lepre, 34:03; 39. Grant Laiblin 36:21; 40. Lance Bioy 44:31.