ELLENSBURG - Let the fun begin!
Yesterday, the Sunnyside High School cross country team concluded what most will admit is a meaningless conference schedule. On the horizon is the District meet, the first step for those attempting to qualify for this year's State cross country meet.
Competing at Ellensburg Thursday afternoon, both the Sunnyside boys and girls squads were upended by the host Bulldogs, as well as by West Valley. The Grizzly boys team concluded Mid-Valley League play with a 1-5 record. The Lady Grizzly harriers were 0-6 in league play this season.
In the boys race, SHS senior Brenden Scott again proved he will be a force when the postseason races roll around. Scott garnered a second place individual finish in Ellensburg, coming in just six seconds back of the winner-Joe Darda of Ellensburg.
Darda's first place finish, coupled with a fourth place individual finish by teammate Isak Bergman and a seventh place showing by the Bulldogs' Jeff Jorgensen, powered Ellensburg to a 21-39 victory over Sunnyside. In the West Valley-Ellensburg boys match-up, the Rams prevailed by a 26-33 score.
West Valley's top finisher was Richie Williams, third overall in a time of 18:00. Williams was well back of Darda and Scott, who clocked times of 17:19 and 17:25, respectively. The Rams, though, had superior team depth to knock off both Ellensburg and Sunnyside in yesterday's match-ups. West Valley claimed the fifth and sixth place individual finishes to go along with Williams' third place showing, and also grabbed the eighth through 12th place individual finishes.
Cipriano Meraz had the second fastest time for Sunnyside on the Ellensburg course, clocking a 19:26 to earn a 13th place finish. Also competing for the Grizzly boys were Sterling Scott, 22nd in a time of 20:11; Joel Gaspar, 25th in 20:28; Gregg Burbidge, 39th in 22:02; Dane Schmick, 57th in 25:34; Lance Warner, 62nd in 26:20; and Kevin Lick, 63rd in 27:47.
In Thursday's girls race, the Lady Grizzlies were beaten 20-43 by West Valley and 21-39 by Ellensburg. The overall individual winner was Michelle Schubert of West Valley, who recorded a time of 20:25. The Rams claimed the top seven individual finishes.
Mercedes Martinez was Sunnyside's top finisher. She clocked a 24:22 to earn an 11th place finish. Also competing for the Lady Grizzlies were Christina Fuller, 23rd in 30:48; Angelina Fernandez, 24th in 30:59; Andrea Benitez, 27th in 31:23; and Brenda Mora, 30th in 35:25.
The Mid-Valley League's District meet will be staged on Selah's hilly three-mile course, on Saturday, Oct. 23. Selah's Garry Lorance appears to be the runner to beat on the boys side. Regional action is slated to be held the following Saturday, Oct. 30, in Richland at a site yet to be named. The class 3A State meet is again scheduled to take place at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco (Nov. 6).