After weeks of running and jumping in the rain and cold, area teams got a chance to enjoy some good weather Thursday at Pendleton's Buck Classic, and the result was an encouraging first meet for those involved.
With no team scores and a relaxed seeding system, teams used the meet as a chance to get their athletes entered in multiple events and wet the feet of their newcomers.
While the area's established stars generally lived up to their billing, it was those unknowns that got their chance to steal the show in select events.
Runners like Pendleton's Emma Anderton and Hermiston's Antonio Ortiz and Zaira Sanchez gave fans a look at what may be ahead with wins, while Pendleton's Kayla Stewart and Kristen Van Cleave impressed in their events as well.
Anderton's win may have been the most impressive as she beat Division 1-bound teammate Christine Harwood in the 800-meter run by a second.
"I didn't really know what to expect on this one but we usually run together pretty good," Anderton said. "I didn't expect that at all. This is my first time running this race, at least as a high schooler."
Ortiz also picked up his win in the 800 and distance coach Jake Puzey said it was well-earned as Ortiz was one of the Bulldogs' most dedicated trainers in the offseason.
"I was excited to come here. I actually thought I would do better," Ortiz said of his time of 2:06.39. "It's the beginning of the season and it's a good start. It was kind of a push I guess, I was shooting for a two flat."
Sanchez won the 200 and placed second in the 400 to make a splash early in her sophomore campaign.
Stewart dominated in javelin, out-distancing Riverside's Jordan Connell by 11 feet with a throw of 119-02, while Van Cleave won the long jump, was second in the triple jump and was fifth in the 300-meter hurdles.
Van Cleave's teammate, Kate Bostwick, got her senior season started right with wins in both hurdle events and silver in the high jump and long jump. Fellow Bucks Lyndsie Wynn and Haylie Wynn went one-two in shot put and Sam McCloud edged McLoughlin's Andrea Roeder in the 3,000.
Hermiston seniors Lale Ena and Cody Humphrey each got wins in their first meet with Ena taking the shot with a throw of 45-03.5 and Humphrey winning the discus with his 143-07 toss.
The Bulldog boys' 4x400 relay team and both girls' relay teams won their races but coach Dave Rohrman said the teams will depend on more balance this year, as they have fewer dominant athletes than in years past.
While the Bucks and Bulldogs each represented well, the Pioneers were able to get a couple of wins, too.
McLoughlin's Emily Childers won the 100 and the 400 and coach John Milleson said she is one of several athletes he has high hopes for. Milleson's team has nearly doubled in size this season and although he has a lot of first-time juniors and seniors, he said the entire team is benefiting from the added enthusiasm.
Riverside also had a good showing, led by a pair of second-place finishes from Amy Kegler in the 100 and 200.