The Bowerman Athletic Club running team, made up of freshman and sophomores from Hermiston and other local high schools, won the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics regional championships Saturday at Western Oregon University.
The win qualifies the team for the USATF national meet which will take place in San Antonio Dec. 14.
Hermiston freshman Hayden Scott took home first-place honors with a time of 16 minutes and eight seconds. The USATF state meet was held on the same course just a week earlier, and Scott was able to best his time from the previous week by nearly 30 seconds. Scott set a new personal record by shaving nine seconds off his previous best.
Hermiston head cross country coach Jacob Puzey said Scotts familiarity with the course enabled him to run a great race.
Anytime you get to run a course youre familiar with its certainly an advantage, Puzey said. He was able to capitalize on his past experience there, and that translated into an incredible time.
The weather conditions were much more favorable during the regional meet, Puzey said.
It wasnt as wet and windy as it was the week prior, he said. That also helped. Every single one of our runners improved on their times from a week ago. The better conditions and knowing the course set-up played a big part in that.
Puzey said the work the runners put in during the week also paid off, as well.
The guys really ran hard last week in practice, he said. After the state meet, I think everyone knew they could perform a little better. They were determined to go out and prove that on Saturday.
Puzey said the chance to go to San Antonio and compete at the national meet will be a great opportunity for his athletes.
Some of the guys have never been out of the Northwest, he said. Its more than just competing in the race. Theyll get to experience a different culture as well as meet runners from all around the country.
Puzey said he encourages his runners to stay active after the fall season is over, but the commitment his runners have shown this year has been above and beyond his expectations.
This doesnt happen unless the guys are willing to make the effort, he said. Theyve continued to work hard when others have stopped. Its certainly going to give them an advantage as they head into track season.