The Hermiston cross country team had its first real test of the season and it answered with top performance from young faces.
In the Runner’s Soul XC Fest held at Sandstone Middle School, the Bulldogs put up podium worthy times. The girls team finished second in the 5,000-meter varsity race with 65 points — just five points shy from taking the No. 1 spot from Union — and the boys team placed third overall with 102 points.
“We did good. I was very pleased with both the boys and girls performance,” head coach Troy Blackburn said. “We had very good performances from some of our young runners.”
Those young runners included freshman Julianna Joyce, who finished third (20:59) behind teammate Sheila Solorio (20:53.9). Due to a busy day of high school athletics, the girls team was missing its No. 2 runner Amanda Nygard who was busy playing for the Hermiston girls soccer team at the time of the race.
“It’s nice to know we were just one runner off from being solid,” Blackburn added.
The boys team also saw top finishes from first-time runners. Isaac Sanchez placed fourth in 16:28.8, which was almost a new personal record in his first race, as he faced tough competition included the 2016 returning state champion.
“We’re young on the boys side,” Blackburn said. “I keep telling them they are in shape, it’s just a matter of confidence, and it will take some more time but they are a good group of boys — a lot strong than last year.”
The cross country season will continue Sept. 16 with a meet at Oregon City High School.
See all official team scores from the Runner’s Soul XC Fest below.
Official team scores from the girls 5,000-meter varsity race:
1. Union 60
2. Hermiston 65
3. Enterprise 70
4. Oregon City 109
5. La Grande 120
6. Chiawana 165
7. Southridge 167
8. Tri-Cities Prep 172
9. Heppner 211
10. Toppenish 248
11. Umatilla 271
Official team scores from the boys 5,000-meter varsity race:
1. Union 52
2. Southridge 58
3. Hermiston 102
4. Oregon City 115
5. Pasco 124
6. Chiawana 146
7. College Place 185
8. Tri-Cities Prep 215
9. Heppner 223
10. Stanfield 245
11. Umatilla 318
12. Elgin 335
Hermiston volleyball loses lead, match to Pasco
The Hermiston volleyball team hosted Pasco (WA) on Saturday for an action-packed afternoon on the court. The Bulldogs played their first five setter, but the outcome was less than desirable.
After taking an early 2-0 lead, Hermiston gave in to a Pasco comeback and lost the match 2-3.
“They fought hard,” head coach Amy Dyck said of the girls performance. “To be honest, we sort of gave that away. We didn’t play our best, made some silly mistakes, and lost our focus and our discipline. It’s something we have really been working at.”
The Bulldogs took the first two sets 25-23, only to drop the third by the same two-point margin. Pasco’s efforts were slow and steady as it worked to build multiple leads in the final two sets. Although this was a tough blow to Hermiston’s efforts earlier in the day, Dyck knows there’s still plenty left in the tank and as early as it is in the season she doesn’t mind saving some gas for later.
“It’s one match, it’s early in the season. We don’t want to peak now, we want to peak later in the year. So we’re going to learn from it and get in the gym on Monday and hopefully fix some problems.”
Hermiston was led by sophomore Emma Combes, who tallied nine kills; senior Masie Hancock, who finished with 17 digs; and Kendall Dowdy, who notched 10 assists.
The Bulldogs will continue play at Hermiston High School, where they will host The Dalles on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Mustangs take tourney in Helix
At the Helix Tournament, the Heppner Mustangs had a dominate performance — winning all but one match in two consecutive sets.
After defeating Mac-Hi (25-12, 25-12), the Mustangs quickly moved on to its next competition — Powder Valley. While competition was a little tougher in the semi-final bracket, that didn’t stop the Mustangs from imposing their will on their opponents. Heppner took this match, 25-18, 25-22.
In the final round against the host school, Heppner dropped a set for the first time all day. However, the team quickly rallied after the 12-25 defeat and came back to win the tournament defeating Helix in the final two sets 25-18, 15-10.
“It was a good day for the Mustangs,” head coach Mindy Wilson said. “I knew that it was going to be a long day, so we kept rotating girls in to keep everyone’s energy up and it worked for us today. It was definitely a team victory. I’m very proud of them.”
Sophie Grant lead the team with 33 kills for the day. Jacee Currin lead with 47 assists for the day. Sydney Wilson lead the team with 71 digs for the tournament.
Heppner has won five straight tournaments, and will hope to continue its winning streak as it hosts its first league opponent next week. The Mustangs will welcome Culver on Thursday. The match will begin at 6 p.m.
Coaches can report game scores and statistics by calling 1-800-522-0255 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.