Washougal 5th Grade Runners Compete at Junior Olympics Regional XC Meet


Athol, Idaho — Anava and Joela Grundy, 5th grade students at Columbia River Gorge Elementary, competed at the USATF Junior Olympics Regional XC Meet in Athol, Idaho, on November 18.  The twins feed their passion for running by taking part in the Boosters’ Mileage Club, a running program organized by school volunteers. They also participate in Whisper Running, a local youth running organization, since September 2022.

“I love to run because it allows me to be active in the outdoors. I love the different trails and enjoy running in nature,” said Anava.  

Anava and Joela were the only Whisper Running members from Washougal to qualify for USATF Junior Olympics Regionals this year. 

“I’m really proud of them for trying a new thing and sticking with it even when it gets difficult,” said Dave Caldwell, running coach at Whisper Running.

“Running for me is such a great sport because I can set personal goals and focus on them to get stronger,” said Joela. 

The Boosters’ Mileage Club at Columbia River Gorge Elementary helps Anava and Joela consistently train their cross country skills and inspires them to do their best. This weekly running program is spearheaded by volunteers Annie Thomas and Sadie McKenzie. McKenzie is also a member of the Washougal School District school board. 

“It’s amazing to see what these kids accomplish. I volunteer with the Boosters Mileage Club because you get to make a real difference in students’ lives,” said McKenzie.

Programs like the Columbia River Gorge Boosters Mileage Club help Washougal students to discover a passion for exercise. Booster club volunteers make this and many other student-centered programs across Washougal School District possible. Learn more about volunteer opportunities at Washougal School District on the district volunteer webpage.

For Anava and Joela, this is just the beginning. Beginning this year, cross country programs in Washougal expanded to include 6th grade students in Washougal. This comes just in time for the duo to represent Jemtegaard Middle School when they enter sixth grade next year.

Joela Grundy accepts a token after finishing another lap around the track.

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