EUGENE — With a little encouragement from his older brother on the sidelines, Heppner’s Trevor Nichols placed third at the 2A/1A State Cross-country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Lane Community College.
“I was trying to be conservative because I didn’t feel too well,” said Nichols, who posted a time of 16 minutes, 48.20 seconds. “With about 800 (meters) left, I tried to put a little surge on. Then I heard them coming behind me. The final 300, I sprinted it out. The last 100, I out kicked Caleb (Brown of Pine Eagle), who ended up fourth.”
Colin Friend of St. Stephen’s Academy won the race in a time of 16:23.50, followed by Isaiah Rodriguez of Knappa (16:28.80).
Even though they were missing two key runners because of illness, the Mustangs rallied the troops to finish third in the team standings with 123 points.
Union won the team title with 39 points, closely followed by Bandon with 43.
“I was shocked,” Heppner coach Russ Nichols said. “I really could not believe we got third. I thought they all ran pretty darn well. Trevor ran well and finished strong. The first two runners went out quickly and got a little lead on the next group.”
The finish was the best Nichols has placed at state, but his time was off his best showing.
“The course was slow today,” Nichols said. “Every step you were slipping, even with spikes on. It was a blessing that the rain went away before our race.”
Hunter Nichols, a junior at Eastern Oregon University and a member of the cross-country and track teams, drove from La Grande to cheer on his little brother.
“He cheered me on and got me going,” Nichols said. “Our whole team has decided he is the best inspiration during a race. He knows how to get you going.”
Weston-McEwen’s Alex McIntyre finished seventh overall in a time of 17 minutes.
“We have been running a long time together,” Nichols said of McIntyre. “When we are together, we run our best. We go back and forth trying to get motivation to get going.”
Also scoring for the Mustangs were Joe Sherman (22nd, 18:32.40), Ed Ellsworth (35th, 19:04.10), Kamron Drury (41st, 19:36.10) and Roen Waite (59th, 22:13.30).
“Third was awesome, especially without one of our top runners,” Nichols said. “We were surprised when we found out. Our other runners showed up. Joe ran really great. He ran a good race. He definitely earned the second runner spot today.”
5A BOYSPendleton’s James Thatcher finished 31st overall in a time of 17:35.80. He is the first Pendleton runner to qualify for state since 2016.
Tyrone Gorze of Crater won the race in a time of 15:05.20, 30 seconds in front of his teammate Josiah Tostenson, who was second.
Crater also won the team title with 35 points, while Crescent Valley was second with 54.
WASHINGTON 3A GIRLSPowered by sophomore Megan Joyce, the Hermiston girls finished 11th in the team standings at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
The Bulldogs finished with 252 points, and were the highest-placing Mid-Columbia Conference school.
Mead won the team title with 114 points, followed by Central Kitsap with 155 points.
Macy Marquardt of Kennewick won the race in a time of 17:31.60. The second-place runner was 58 seconds behind her.
Joyce finished 31st overall with a time of 19:40.10, followed by teammates Alexia Serna (45th, 19:58.60), Liz Newman (56th, 20:06.30), Jackie Garcia-Sandoval (105th, 21:00) and Ashley Treadwell (120th, 21:10.20).
WASHINGTON 3A BOYSHermiston senior Logan Springstead finished 87th overall in a time of 17:24.80 to lead the Bulldogs. Freshman Jaysen Rodriguez finished 92nd in a time of 17:27.60 to round out the two-man contingent.
Bishop Blanchet won the team title with 88 points, while Gig Harbor was second with 111.
William Schneider of Bishop Blanchet won the race in a time of 15:17.10.