GRANGER - Four members of the Class B Bickleton High School cross country team posted personal best times at a four-school meet in Granger yesterday.
The three other teams represented at the meet were from Class A schools.
"On a day for which we were looking for some good improvements in individual times, we found some," said Bickleton Coach Darrell Lang.
"Since we had run this course about three weeks ago it was a good gauge on how we are doing," he added. "Though progress was harder to find in other runners, four of us did make gains.
"With over three weeks to go before District, we hope to get all runners at peak performance," Lang said.
The two Pirate runners who made the biggest gains were eighth grader Junior Hernandez and freshman Danielle Raschko.
Hernandez, in placing third overall in Tuesday's 3.1-mile boys race, beat his previous time at the Granger course by about 50 seconds. He clocked a 17:46, which was just 39 seconds back of the winner-Warden's Carlos Canderos (17:07).
The Bickleton eighth grader left the starting line strong, and quickly settled into the No. 2 spot on the fairly flat Granger course, which features just one short hill that the harriers must traverse three times during the race. Canderos, the eventual winner, trailed Hernandez for much of the race in the No. 3 spot, but made a push towards the end and passed the two runners in front of him. The early race leader stayed on Canderos' heels and finished second.
Lang said the third place showing by Hernandez was his best finish of the season, "...in his best ever time."
Raschko bested her previous time on the Granger course by about 40 seconds. After a strong first mile, the Bickleton freshman found herself in the No. 7 spot, which she hung onto clear to the finish line. She clocked a time of 23:01. The girls race winner, Granger's Andrea Lloyd, finished in 19:29.
The two other Bickleton runners who set personal bests yesterday were Tyler Jensen and Jared Spalding. Jensen clocked a 21:30 for 22nd place honors in the boys race, and Spalding placed 27th in a time of 23:59.
Also competing for the Pirates in the boys race were Cody Loomis, 11th place in 19:01; Orion Yoesle, 26th place in 22:31; and James Rasmussen, 28th place in 24:46.
The Pirates cross country team isn't scheduled to compete again until next Tuesday, Oct. 11, at either Highland High School or Goldendale.