EUGENE?— The Pendleton Bucks girls’ cross country team capped off a spectacular season with a fourth-place team finish at the OSAA Class 5A cross country championships Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene.

Buoyed by a seventh-place finish from Nicole Dillavou, the Bucks were 50 points better than fifth-place Cleveland and just nine points off third-place Crescent Valley. After the team awards were handed out, Dillavou was beaming with excitement about how well the Bucks did.

“We were expecting to place anywhere from third to sixth,” she said. “We came here as a team and really wanted to place. Fourth place is great.”

Pendleton scored 113 points in the team race.

The senior’s time of 19 minutes, 39 seconds was the best for Pendleton, followed up by Emma Anderton’s 20:30 in 25th place. Junior Sandy Torres was three seconds behind her teammate to place 27th and Katie Dillavou placed 42nd with a 21:11. Jacky Sheoships rounded out the scoring runners for Pendleton, placing 50th with a 21:22.

For Nicole Dillavou, her performance came as a bit of a surprise to her.

“This was above and beyond what I could imagine,” she said. “I’m really excited about it.”

Hermiston also advanced to the state championships as a team and finished in 11th place. The Bulldogs had the top individual performance from the area schools with freshman Katie Markwick crossing the finish line in fourth. Markwick used a strong kick down the final stretch to fend off Hood River Valley’s Grace Viuhkola, who beat her at the Columbia River Conference championships last weekend.

“It felt good because I pushed myself to go catch Grace (Viuhkola),” she said. “And I finally did and we hung together for a bit.”

The Bulldogs ended the day with 229 points, just one point behind Wilsonville and well in front of Marshfield’s 310.

Another Hermiston freshman, Kelli Niederwerfer, was the second Bulldog to cross the finish line, earning her team 35 points with a 44th-place run. Niederwerfer finished with a 21:16, followed by junior Gaby Villegas in 73rd with a 22:17.

Jordyn Rohrman and Marissa Worstell rounded out the scoring runners for the Bulldogs, each finishing in 75th and 76th place.

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