By John L. Braese
NYSSA – Last season, Nyssa’s Olivia Page was a freshman on the Bulldog cross country team.
In her first state meet, Page cracked the top 20, finishing 16th. Although an elite runner, Page continued to run in the shadow of Nyssa’s Delia Deleon.
Fast forward one year. Deleon is now a student at Treasure Valley Community College and Page, as a sophomore, is now a team leader.
She just wishes the team was larger.
The Nyssa girls cross country team now numbers two runners. Page and fellow sophomore Noelle Acosta were the lone runners at the start line of the Bulldog’s home meet, the Nyssa Invitational on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
As the race started, Page remained in the lead pack as the race made its way through the fields surrounding Nyssa High School. As the runners made the turn back into the stadium and the finish line, Page crossed the line in second place behind Cheylah Volkers of Melba. Acosta finished the race in 51st.
With only two competitors, Nyssa didn’t receive a team score.
“Soccer really hurt our numbers this year,” said Page. “I wish we had more girls out for the team.”
Even if a team state team title may not be in the books, Page has personal goals for the season.
“I really want a top ten finish in the state meet this year,” she said. “I also want to be below the 20 minute, 14 second mark.”
In addition to fewer teammates, Page also had to make the adjustment this season to a new coach. Katy Holcomb took over the reins this season.
“Coach really pushes me and it took some adjusting to her style,” Paige said.
With numbers down, Page and Acosta run with the boys, another wrinkle in training.
With the sport of cross country a close knit community and only a team of two at Nyssa, Page and Acosta use the meets as an opportunity to see old friends and competitors.
“I have a lot of good friends that run for Burns,” said Page. “We started competing against each other in middle school and have just remained friends. Today was a day to see them again and catch up.”
Along with the social part of the meet, there was competition.
On the boys side, Ridgevue picked up the team title with Nyssa finishing seventh. Ontario was one spot behind picking up eighth. Vale was tenth.
The top local finish was Vale’s Japheth Carlson, who posted a time of 19:22.12, good enough for 13th. Ontario’s Quinn Susuki was 23rd and Nyssa’s Chris Acosta picked up 27th.
The girls saw the team title go to Melba. Ontario picked up seventh.
Tiger Tessa Hart finished 32nd while Vale’s best finish proved to be Audrey Marchek in 44th.
“We may be short this year, but there are some eighth graders we plan on picking up next season,” Paige said of the future. “We plan on doing some recruiting, but for this year, I just worry about my time and pushing myself.”
Pushing herself includes maintaining her 4.0 GPA.
Paige, Acosta and the Nyssa boys will next see action at the Bob Firman Invitational, a race Paige said is her favorite of the year. The race takes off on Saturday, Sept. 23, with Vale also in attendance.
Team scores: 1. Ridgevue, 51. 2. Melba, 59. 3. Cole Valley Christian, 71. 4. Burns, 100. 5. Victory Charter, 145. 6. New Plymouth, 187. 7. Nyssa, 197. 8. Ontario, 202. 9. Marsing, 210. 10. Vale, 247.
Individual results: 1. Logan Forester (Ridgevue), 17:48.70. 13. Japheth Carlson (Vale), 19:22.12. 23. Quinn Susuki (Ontario), 20:00.02. 25. Armando Veloz (Ontario), 20:15.92. 27. Chris Acosta (Nyssa), 20:23.83. 34. Armando Pedraza (Nyssa), 20:56.57. 42. Myo Castro (Nyssa), 21:31.75. 45. Frank Oliver (Nyssa), 21:37.76. 49. Julian Vargas (Ontario), 21:49.97. 50. Dan Wenger (Vale), 21:50.43. 59. Jacob Moore (Ontario), 22:35.03. 68. Kevin Pascasio (Nyssa), 22:55.61. 74. James Ellsworth (Adrian), 23:48.92. 82. Thomas Hale (Ontario), 24:11.51. 86. Alejandro Juarez (Vale), 24:16.53. 100. Ricky Leyva (Vale), 25:48.03. 103. Troy Taylor (Vale), 26:14.49. 106. Josh Anderson (Vale), 27:09.51. 108. Alan Chew (Ontario), 27:31.47. 111. Colton Anderson (Vale), 27:57.81. 112. Christain Luna (Nyssa), 28:21.40. 119. Logan Cox (Vale), 30:00.64. 121. Luis Diaz (Vale), 30:55.72. 126. Richard Rojas (Ontario), 36:33.28.
Team scores: 1. Melba, 32. 2. Cole Valley Christian, 54. 3. Burns, 75. 4. New Plymouth, 101. 5. Victory Charter, 124. 6. Ridgevue, 14. 7. Ontario, 198.
Individual results: 1. CheylahVolkers (Melba), 22:24.61. 2. Olivia Page (Nyssa), 22:56.53. 32. Tessa Hart (Ontario), 27:49.28. 39. Jaqueline Cuevas (Ontario), 28:56.60. 44. Audrey Marchek (Vale), 29:37.74. 49. Melissa Jagelski (Ontario), 30:36.15. 50. Aubrey Kaaen (Vale), 30:47.97. 51. Noelle Acosta (Nyssa), 31:19.17. 53. Morgan Hager (Vale), 31:25.46. 54. Lesly Nunez (Ontario), 33:29.16. 55. Madyson Ponce (Ontario), 34:07.36. 58. Cynthia Bauer (Ontario), 34:48.63. 60. Alysa Dotson (Vale), 36:55.04.