By Christopher Halsey

Herald Sports Editor

PRINEVILLE — Hermiston tuned up Thursday in Prineville for the Intermountain Conference District cross country meet in Pendleton this week by placing in the top two of the Crook County Invitational.

It was the third consecutive week that the Bulldogs girls have each claimed the team title in a meet and the third consecutive top two placing for the boys. The previous week, Hermiston’s teams claimed titles at the Pendleton High School course that will host the district meet Saturday. The girls race will begin at 2 p.m. and the boys will start at 2:30 p.m.

Hermiston coach Brandt Lind said the girls team effort, was “pretty darn close” to the best effort of the season.

After a five-and-a-half hour bus ride, Lind was pleased with what he saw in Prineville.

“I felt good, as a group, how well they ran,” he said of the Hermiston girls.

Hermiston won the team race with 34 points while Mountain View, who held out their top five runners, was second at 71. Bend was third at 79 points and Redmond was fourth at 113. Sisters, 139, Crook County, 140, Summit, 177, Madras, 201 and LaPine, 256, rounded out the girls field.

Hermiston’s Jeanna Lloyd was the top individual in the race, posting a time of 19 minutes and 38 seconds. Jessica Newman was fourth overall and second for Hermiston at 20:11. Michelle Wilson placed fifth for Hermiston at 20:27 and Brindy Hindrickson was 10th at 21:02. Amanda Carper was 14th with a 21:17, Lindsay Hector was 16th at 21:30 and Lisa Sanders placed 22nd at 21:44.

“The girls ran particularly well, Lind said.

He said that the best could be yet to come for the Bulldog girls at district if they keep in mind that they should, “keep their wits. Don’t turn (the district meet) into something too big that you can’t compete.”

He added, “we’ve got some individuals in the top seven that haven’t had their best races.

“I think they are just waiting to put it all together at district and we want also to carry some momentum into state.”

Bend claimed the team title in the boys race with a score of 26 to Hermiston’s 65. Mountain View was third at 96 and LaPine was fourth at 130. Redmond was fifth at 159, Sisters was sixth at 221 and Summit placed seventh at 291. Crook County had 300 points for eighth place and Madras had 368.

“It was a disadvantage for us to travel all night on a school night, but at the same time, it was an advantage for us to see the district competition,” Lind said.

The top two teams and top seven individuals from the district meet qualify for the state meet in Eugene Nov. 3.

Bend’s John Hinman won the individual title with a time of 16:03, but Hermiston’s Brian Horneck was second at 16:14. Tommy Puzey was fifth in the field and second on the Hermiston squad with a time of 16:40. Josh Wicks placed 12th for Hermiston at 17:08 and Michael Cram was 21st at 17:30. Daniel Valdez placed 25th in the field with a 17:35 and Jeremy Larson was 29th at 17:44. Brian Sanders placed 35th in the field with a time of 17:57.

Lind said that Horneck, Wicks and Cram had solid races for the Bulldogs.

“Our boys are excited to see if they can close the gap between the fourth and fifth places.

“Their mindset is right going into district.”

He concluded by saying, “I think they are doing all they can. I want them to rise to the challenge.”

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