PENDLETON - Most of the big guns in Eastern Oregon track and field will be at the Pendleton Bucks Classic, as 10 schools are slated to compete, including Hermiston, Riverside, Mac-Hi and Baker.

Several smaller schools, such as Grant Union and Union, will also be on hand.

"The smaller schools have some pretty good kids in there," Pendleton coach Mark Christensen said. "There's going to be some tough competition."

Last year's winner of both the boys and girls team titles, Walla Walla, will not compete.

Christensen isn't too concerned with the marks set at the meet, but is more interested in having the squad get some more work in, especially coming off a week that was hard for a lot of the kids to get in a full slate of practice.

"We had a spring break and not a lot of them worked out hard during the spring break," he said. "Some of them came and practiced so it's not like we're starting fresh again. It's just kind of trying to get back into the groove."

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are concerned about coming out of the meet in one piece - something they had difficulty doing in practice the past few days.

"Right now this cold weather is kind of hitting us with some injuries," Hermiston coach Dave Rohrman said. "We had three kids that went down."

Hermiston will have its 1,600-meter relay teams ready to go and Rohrman is also looking forward to getting another performance under his kid's belts.

"We're trying to get in a rhythm right now so we're doing everything we should be doing at the end of the season," he said. "I think we're going to keep on moving on. We're getting a little better every week."

While the 3A and 4A schools from the area will be in Pendleton, nearly all of the 1A and 2A schools from Umatilla and Morrow counties will be at The Dalles to compete in the Cherry Festival Invitational at Wahtonka High School. Last year the Ione boys won the team title and the Ione girls finished in a first-place tie with the Sherman Huskies.

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