COS runner Chitwood to miss State due to injury; teammate Hering to take his place

Bill Choy
Blake Chitwood of the College of the Siskiyous cross country team, above, earned a state berth at the California Community College NorCal cross country championships on Nov. 8 in Salinas. On Tuesday afternoon. it was announced that he would not compete at State due to injury. His  teammate, Ryan Hering, below, will take his place.  Photo courtesy of Katie Woodward

Blake Chitwood, a Yreka High graduate, earned a berth recently to the CCCAA Cross Country Championships in Fresno this Saturday as a member of the College of the Siskiyous XC team.

Unfortunately, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon that Chitwood will not be able to participate due to a injury with his right foot.

Chitwood finished 23rd with a four-mile time of 21:28 at the California Community College NorCal cross country championships at Toro Park in Salinas on Friday, Nov. 8 to qualify for State.

His teammate, Ryan Hering, a Mount Shasta High School graduate, will take his place. He was 49th with a time of 22:17 at the NorCal Championships, At the event, it was first announced that Hering was the 8th individual qualifier out of 10 that had earned a State berth. Later at Norcals, head COS XC coach Katie Woodward said they were told that a mistake had been made in the scoring and that Hering was 10th but still qualified for State.

On Wednesday, Nov. 13, Woodward received an email that another athlete had been missed and Hering was actually 11th, which meant he was the final cut.

Woodward said it was hard to tell him the news, but was impressed with how he took the sudden turn of events.

“I am so crushed for him,” she said last week. “But he seems to be handling it well... He’s a very mature kid.“

During an interview this past Friday, Chitwood said that a few days after the Norcal race, he suffered a potential stress fracture in his right foot and was going to the doctor on Monday to recheck it and see if he had a break or not,

“I’m hoping I can race,” Blake said on Friday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Woodward said that after taking XRays, the doctor told Blake that they weren't sure if there was a stress fracture or if the tendon was just inflamed.

Chitwood met with the COS trainer on Tuesday, who told him that there was a small potential to fully break the bone if he ran on it and if that happened he would need surgery and miss the upcoming track season

Also a member of the COS track team, Woodward said that Chitwood decided it was best to rest and not run at State in hopes of fully recovering before track season.

Woodward said it was a difficult decision for Blake “because his goal all year has been to make state for XC.”

Chitwood narrowly missed earning a State berth as a freshman for COS last season.

Since the summer, Blake has been hard at work training in preparation for the season and working on earning a berth in State.

“It’s been a long road to get here,” Chitwood said on Friday. “It’s been one heck of a journey”.

Woodard said last week that it was a great feeling to see Chitwood run so well at NorCals to earn a berth to Fresno.

"He’s worked so hard in the offseason to improve his time,” she said. “He’s so passionate about cross country running and being a strong leader on the team. He’s a great asset for us and truly loves running.”

Blake, a standout runner at YHS, said it’s been nice to be close to home his first two years of college and race in front of friends and family.

“Overall, it’s been a good experience,” he said about his time at COS.

Chitwood said he has loved running at COS and seeing what this small group of runners have accomplished in his time in the XC program.

“I can’t help but be proud of the team and the people here,” he said.

 After competing in track for COS this spring, Chitwood plans to move on to a four-year school next year.

His goal is to compete in running and major in mechanical engineering and said there are a few schools he is looking at.