PASCO - Just making it to state was an accomplishment for Junior Hernandez. The 8th grader finished 24th out of 67 runners this past Saturday at the state cross country meet.
Hernandez finished in a time of 18:54, not quite a personal record, but a good time nonetheless, coach Darrell Lang said.
"He was pretty cool and calm," Lang said of Hernandez.
Hernandez ran a fast first mile, Lang said. His second mile was a little more on target, but by the time he got to the third mile, Lang said, he had worn himself out.
Lang said several of Hernandez's teachers and family members came to watch him run and cheer him on.
"He was really happy about that," Lang said.
Despite the finish, Lang said he was pleased with Hernandez's performance.
"He had to run within himself," Lang said.
Lang also said he's looking forward to the future with Hernandez. Being only and 8th grader means he's got four more years to train and improve as a runner at Bickleton.
Lang said if Hernandez is going to keep improving, he has to do some things he isn't doing now, like running extra miles and going out in the summer to prepare for the fall season.
He also said he hopes Hernandez will help bring other runners out next season.
"Hopefully, this will spur some of the other kids (to come out)," Lang said.
But even if more runners don't come out, Lang said he hopes Hernandez will continue to work and improve as a cross country runner.
"I just hope he keeps it up," Lang said.