WILSONVILLE - An overall win from a front-runner, a surprise finish from a sophomore and improved times across the board.
Hermiston cross country coach Jake Puzey calls it a good start.
The Bulldogs' team ran at the second annual Summit XC Night Meet Thursday in Wilsonville, the first race of the season for the squad to determine varsity placing, and Puzey said there was plenty to be excited about.
Jordan Ringe, last year's silver medalist at the state meet, won the varsity race with a time of 15:51, more than half a minute faster than the winning time at the meet last year.
Puzey said the senior won the 5,000-meter race by 100 meters, besting a field of runners from nine Class 6A and six Class 5A schools.
On the girls' side, sophomore Cynthia Ascencio ran the first cross country race of her life and finished the class 3,000-meter race in 12:13. The time ties her for third on the team, behind Cristal Delgado and Kimberly Macias.
Delgado finished second in the 3,000 senior class with a time of 11:26 and Macias took eighth in the junior class with a 11:55.
Ascencio tied senior Elise St. Hilaire, and Puzey said it was a pleasant surprise to see the young runner start the season so well.
"Both the boys and girls had solid summers," he said, "so this race (the 3,000) felt short for them. I know the training has been geared for the 5,000, so I'm confident every one of them can make the jump. And she (Ascencio) doesn't have mental hang-ups like some runners do."
Junior Sam Wick established himself as the No. 2 on the boys' team with a time of 9:48 and a fourth place finish in the class meet. Antonio Ortiz ran a 9:50 to finish fifth in the juniors and Jon Larson ran a 9:52, good for 14th among seniors.
"One thing that's exciting about that, those three times compare to what Terry Johnsen, Jordan Ringe and Antonio Gonzalez ran last year," Puzey said. "And those are the times we're trying to replace from last year."
Hermiston runs its sole home meet of the season next Friday at Sandstone Middle School.