By Luke Hegdal
HERMISTON Hermiston will send both the boys and girls varsity cross country teams to state after outstanding races during the Intermountain Conference Championship at Wildhorse Golf Course on Saturday.
"I couldn't be more proud of both the girls and the guys," Coach Jake Puzey said after the meet. "They're tremendous people, not just athletes."
The Hermiston boys team took first place with a combined time of 1:21:01.00 and 19 points, and capturing the top four spots. Summit was second with 60 points.
"This is a very fast course," said Jordan Ringe who took first overall with a time of 15:50.23.
Ringe was followed by Antonio Gonzalez, Terry Johnsen, and Alex Ringe who secured fourth place with a last-ditch burst, passing a Madras runner.
"I think we needed to make a statement," said Ringe of the impressive team finish. "I think our times will speak for themselves."
For the girls, who finished second with 53 points behind Summit's 43, Sammantha McCloud placed fourth overall with a time of 19:04.62, followed by Shoni Schimmel in sixth and Leslie Macias in 12th. The Lady Bulldogs took second place overall with a time of 1:38:25.18
McCloud and Schimmel both turned in personal best times, McCloud beating her previous best by almost 20 seconds. Schimmel shaved nearly a minute from her fastest time this year, and two seconds from her fastest time last year.
"Shoni really stepped it up today," said McCloud. "I'm really proud of her."
McCloud also said that she is looking forward to the state finals, and hopes to place in the top five.
"I think I'll be able to do that," McCloud said. "I have a great coach and a great team helping me."
The girls weren't the only ones turning on the speed, however. For the boys, Alex Gonzalez ran the 5,000 meters in 16:03.19, four seconds faster than his former best time.
Alex Ringe cut nearly 20 seconds, with a time of 16:14.17.
"It's nice when you have as good of athletes as we have this year," said Puzey.
Luke Hegdal can be reached at email@example.com.