Hermiston’s first Mid-Columbia Conference league meet for cross country, held at Walla Walla, was a learning experience.

The varsity boys and girls teams placed eighth overall in their respective races.

Freddy Mendoza led the boys’ varsity, finishing at No. 20 with a 17:46.82 time.

Cydney Sanchez led the girls’ varsity, taking the No. 23 spot with a time of 22:00.06.

The boys’ junior varsity division fared better, placing fourth overall, with Martin Heredia finishing as Hermiston’s fastest J.V. runner for the meet at No. 20 with a 19:32.51 time. The girls’ junior varsity team placed ninth and was led by Jennifer Fuentes, clocking in at 25:21.51.

“It was a tougher course, and we have a lot of younger kids,” said Hermiston cross country coach Troy Blackburn. “We ran against Tri-Cities and Walla Walla schools. It was good to see how we compare to them. We’re excited to see where we can improve. We’ve been pushing hard — we’ll bounce back.”

Hermiston’s junior varsity teams will have their next meet next Thursday at Hermiston’s Riverfront Park.

— Brett Kane

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