Austin Elkins (bib 2342), a sophomore at Great Oak High School, placed 24th overall while running for the South Temecula Track Club at the Desert Twilight XC Festival on Oct. 2 in Arizona. Elkins is one of two boys training with the cross country team who were hospitalized after being hit by a vehicle while on a run Saturday morning. (Photo by Harold Smith)
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Two members of the Great Oak High School/South Temecula Track Club cross country program were injured Saturday morning when they were hit by a vehicle while on a training run in the wine country area northeast of the high school.
Both athletes, Austin Elkins, a sophomore at Great Oak HS, and Jacob Brown, an eighth-grader at a feeder middle school, were hit on Anza Road while running with a group of seven boys, Great Oak/STTC head coach Doug Soles said Sunday.
Both boys remained hospitalized in stable condition, Soles said late Sunday afternoon.
"Both are improving and thankfully have responded well to treatments," Soles said.
According to Soles, the driver of the vehicle drifted over the white line and struck the boys as the group ran along the side of the road.
"Fortunately, they were in a large group and the kids did amazing getting paramedics, coaches, and parents there within minutes," Soles said.
"Another group of seven senior boys were running behind them and immediately took control of the scene to call 911, coaches, parents. Fortunately, we make sure the kids are in groups and have phones on them."
Elkins suffered multiple fractures among other injuries, according to a social media post by his father, Jonathan Elkins. Austin Elkins is being treated at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, Soles said.
Brown injured an arm that required surgery, Soles said. He was initially treated at Inland Valley and then moved to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, the coach said.
"Thanks for the continued support, love and all the prayers for Austin," Jonathan Elkins wrote Saturday in an Instagram post that drew more than 2,600 likes and more than 300 comments in a statewide show of support from across the running community.
Late Sunday morning, Elkins posted another photo of Austin with the note: "His spirits are higher today! Last night was emotional for him as he had to learn what had happened. I've shared with him all (of) your comments. Gonna be a long road of recovery but he's a beast."
Elkins competed in 11 cross country meets for Great Oak as a freshman in 2019, running PRs of 16:01.80 for 3 miles at the Dana Hills Invitational in on Sept. 28, and 16:15.80 for 5,000 meters at the Southwestern League Championships in early November. He was eighth overall among boys at the team's time trial just over a month ago. He placed 24th overall in the Unattached/Club Championship race at the Desert Twilight XC Festival in Arizona on Oct. 2 (John Hays photo above).
Brown, training with the group as part of the track club, was the top eighth grader at the aforementioned time trial while running in a group of mostly older high schoolers.