Cleveland Cross Country Teams Flourish in Hood to Coast Relay


Clarion photo Patrick Brown

By Patrick Brown, Reporter

The Cleveland Cross Country team closed out the summer by competing in the Hood to Coast race, one of the biggest relays in the world. The team raced with 588 other participants in the slightly shorter Portland to Coast race for high schoolers, and greatly improved on their time from last year.

The Hood to Coast has become a staple in the Pacific Northwest running community, and draws 12,600 runners and thousands of volunteers every year. “It was huge,” Cade Dodge, sophomore, said. What started as a fun idea between friends grew to be a running extravaganza that, for the last 23 years, reached its team limit of 500 on the first day of registration. It has been named “The Mother of all Relays,” and has spawned Official Hood to Coast relays all over the world, including China, Taiwan, and Israel. While the race is about 200 miles long, the Cleveland team raced in the Portland to Coast High School Challenge, which starts in Portland, and is 160 miles long.

The Cleveland team had two vans that they travelled in, and the atmosphere was electric in both. “There was a lot of energy and we talked to each other basically the entire time,” Team Captain Finn Kemper, senior, said.

Kemper’s van also included Kira Swinth, Deirdre Replinger, Nate Bone, Joe Raggett, and Zara Replinger. Zara Replinger stepped in to replace a late dropout, and Kemper said she did amazing. The other van’s runners included Ian Replinger, Finn Riley-Belew, Jack Nelson, Cade Dodge, Alec Kimball, and Ben MacFarland.

The relay was split up into 24 different legs, with each runner being assigned their own legs to run. The honor, and burden, of the hardest legs went to Raggett, who on his second leg, ran uphill for five miles and had an average mile time of six minutes. It was a new experience for Raggett, who normally runs 5K’s. “It wasn’t the most fun experience, but it was a good wake up call for the day,” Raggett said.

The team ran in a variety of settings, such as the Hawthorne bridge, along multiple rivers, with a finish on the beaches of Seaside. Being that the relay was overnight, multiple runners had to run through the forest in the dark. Although some of them had to leg it out alone in the midst of the night, they finished off the race together. The runners in the van caught up to Riley-Belou, their runner of the final leg, and the 12 of them all crossed the finish line side by side.

If the team’s performance says anything about their upcoming season, it will be an exciting one. With some strong returners and a few new freshmen, Kemper is feeling optimistic about the fall season. “I’m feeling good, and I’m looking to push the new runners to improve,” he said.