Ultimook: XC in Oregon


Ellie Hood

Mud puddles, river crossings, and ice cream. What better way to bond? 

Every year, the Peninsula High School cross country team takes the first Friday in September off of school and makes their way to Tillamook, Oregon for their first invitational meet of the year: Ultimook. After four hours on a bus, the runners settle into their campsite and check out their course, which is not exactly McCormick Park.

“There’s a mud puddle and a river crossing in the middle of the course,” said Head Coach Tyler Nugent. “It’s unlike any other course we do, but it’s a good experience for the runners.”

Blaise Eakin and Robert Bowman make their way through the mud puddle.


The 5k takes place on Saturday morning, leaving the rest of the day for some quality team bonding.

Senior boys post-race

“Playing capture the flag with the other teams in the pitch black night really brought us closer as a team,” Senior Maddy Beck reminisces about her last Ultimook. “It was a really rewarding experience!” 

Team bonding also included multiple rounds of spikeball and a tour of the Tillamook Creamery, where the team says they eat more ice cream than they care to admit. 

Runners’ campsite

Maybe you don’t think that mud puddles and ice cream and capture the flag are the best ways to bond, but the cross country team would beg to differ. While the athletes did well in the run, this trip only proves that sports are not always about winning. “It’s really a reward for the athletes who participated in summer training,” said Nugent, “as well as an opportunity for them to bond.” 

Cross country has had a stellar start to their season with another invitational at Bellarmine Preparatory School. Be sure to go support them at their meet against Gig Harbor on Wednesday the 18th!

Photo Credits: Assistant Coach Kim Rutherford