By Christopher Halsey
Herald Sports Editor
EUGENE With a strong fourth place finish in the Northwest Classic Invitational cross country meet in Eugene, the Hermiston Bulldog girls team continues to gear up for the post-season.
Only 32 points separated the Hermiston (149 points) team from second place Sunset squad that had 111 points. Grant won the event with 92 points and South Eugene was third with 137.
Hermistons top runner was Jenna Lloyd, who had a 12th place time of 19:54.
Hermiston coach Brandt Lind said that the course presented a soft surface of grass and bark throughout, perhaps accounting for the slower times.
Jessica Newman was second on the Bulldog team with a 26th place time of 20:33 and Michelle Wilsons 20:47 placed her 31st. Lindsay Hector ran a 21:04 for 38th place while Brindi Hendrickson was 48th with a 21:23. Amanda Carper had a 68th place time if 22:07 and Lisa Sanders placed 76th with a 22:22 time.
Coach Lind said that there were two factors that weighed heavily in the outcome of the race: Good teams and a difficult course.
Our girls like to work their way into a race. They stuck to the game plan, he said.
Brian Horneck for Hermston ran a ninth place 16:39 behind David Axels 15:45 for Sunset and was the only Bulldog in the top 15 in the race.
Tommy Puzey was 17th with a 16:57 and Jeremy Larson had a 46th place 17:33.
Larson ran a strong race for Hermiston after placing seventh on the team the previous two races, but Lind said that there should not be such a separation between the second and third runners.
I think the biggest issue right now is the gap between second and third, Lind said.
We need less than a 40 second gap between our first and fourth runners.
Josh Wicks was fourth on the Hermiston team and 48th in the field at 17:36 while Daniel Valdez came in at 17:44 for 56th place. Michael Cram ran a 17:52 for 64th place and Josh Ego placed 80th at 18:00.
Lind said, They need to be progressing toward the top two times.
Without improving Hermiston will have a hard time placing well at the state meet in Eugene Nov. 3.
(For complete coverage, see the Oct. 2 edition of the Hermiston Herald)