Washougal 5th grade runners compete at Junior Olympics Regional XC meet

CRGE Boosters volunteer Annie Thomas kicks off the running club for 5th grade students at CRGE. Photo courtesy Washougal School District
CRGE Boosters volunteer Annie Thomas kicks off the running club for 5th grade students at CRGE. Photo courtesy Washougal School District

The Boosters’ Mileage Club at Columbia River Gorge Elementary helps Anava and Joela Grundy consistently train their cross country skills and inspires them to do their best.

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 Nov. 18. The twins feed their passion for running by taking part in the Boosters’ Mileage Club, a running program organized by school volunteers. They have also participated 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 Grundy runs the track at CRGE during Mileage Club. Photo courtesy Washougal School District
Anava Grundy runs the track at CRGE during Mileage Club. Photo courtesy Washougal School District

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. 

Joela Grundy collects a token for finishing another lap on the track. Photo courtesy Washougal School District
Joela Grundy collects a token for finishing another lap on the track. Photo courtesy Washougal School District

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.

Sadie McKenzie, Washougal School District board member, volunteers at the Mileage Club every week. Photo courtesy Washougal School District
Sadie McKenzie, Washougal School District board member, volunteers at the Mileage Club every week. Photo courtesy Washougal School District

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.

Information provided by Washougal School District.


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