HERMISTON — Talent and depth have served the Hermiston girls cross-country team well this season.
The Bulldogs have relied on all 10 members of the team to finish the Mid-Columbia Conference regular season with a 7-1 record. They were undefeated until last weekend when Richland topped them in the final regular-season meet.
“They have been doing really good,” Hermiston coach Troy Blackburn said. “We have not raced once all season with our top five girls together. We are deep, have good leaders and good young runners.”
Hermiston will host the Mid-Columbia Conference Championships on Saturday, March 27, at Big River Golf Course. The girls race begins at 3 p.m., with the boys race is set for 4 p.m.
Senior Amanda Nygard and junior Alexia Serna have led the Bulldogs most of the season as an injury has sidelined junior Cydney Sanchez, Ashley Treadwell has had an iron deficiency, and senior Fatima Frasser had COVID-19 and it has taken her time to get her energy back.
“Our top five has been eight or nine different girls,” Backburn said. “It’s great to have all these girls pick it up. They have been training since July. I’m tickled and super happy to have this group of girls I can depend on.”
Also chipping in top-five team times have been seniors Ellie Ernst and Julianna Joyce, and freshmen Megan Joyce, Madeline Franke and Hailey Melville.
“The crazy thing is, these girls would be top five on almost every team,” Blackburn said. “We are deep — it’s great.”
Blackburn said Sanchez, who was one of the Bulldogs’ top two runners entering the season, is scheduled to run this weekend.
“She has been hurt and is still hurt,” he said. “It’s nothing horrible, just a nagging injury with her IT band. It’s tight and uncomfortable to run. It will be nice to have her back.”
The MCC Championships will not be broken down into 3A and 4A divisions, as it has been in the past. All nine teams will be going after one trophy.
Blackburn admits Richland is the favorite going into the race. The Bombers finished the season 8-0, while Hermiston was 7-1, and Hanford and Kennewick tied for third at 5-3.
“Richland is a top four team in 4A,” he said. “We can’t quite keep up with them. This is the strongest team I have had since I’ve been here (seven years). I think this team could compete with any team Hermiston has ever had.”
Kamiakin is the favorite in the boys race. The Braves finished the season 8-0, followed by Chiawana (7-1), Hanford (6-2) and Southridge (5-3).
Hermiston junior Logan Springstead has been a fixture in the top five of conference races this spring, followed by junior Grant Anderson.
Junior Isaac Teeple, who won the 2019 3A state title, and led Kamiakin to its third consecutive team title, leads the Braves’ strong contingent, along with Grayson Wilcott.