TIETON - Sunnyside sophomore Britany Messmore captured her first win of the season at this past Saturday's Apple Ridge Invitational.
The victory, coming on the Flight #2 moderate course, paced the Lady Grizzly cross country team to a second place finish at the five-school meet.
Selah's Vikings won both the boys and girls team titles at the inaugural competition, staged on the brand new Apple Ridge cross country course in Tieton. The course features three 5,000-meter trails-rated as easy, moderate and challenging. Saturday, team scoring was comprised of how each school's top two runners fared on each trail.
The Sunnyside boys team placed third Saturday with 32 points. Selah won the boys title with 22 points, followed by host Highland with 29 points. Royal City and Bickleton placed fourth and fifth, respectively, with 49 and 81 points.
The top finishers for the Sunnyside boys were Gracen Gonzalez and Sterling Scott. Competing on the toughest of the three trails, the duo captured second and third place honors in the Flight #3 race. Selah's Gary Lorance won the 5,000-meter competition, hitting the finish line in 17:13. Gonzalez was the runner-up with an 18:49 clocking, with Scott 10 seconds behind him for a third place finish.
On the moderate Flight #2 boys course, Gilberto Villalobos was Sunnyside's top finisher. He placed fifth in a time of 19:53. The Grizzly runners also nailed down the sixth and seventh place spots in the Flight #2 race, as Joel Gaspar and Jacob Rogers were on Villalobos' heels with clockings of 19:55 and 19:57, respectively. Steven Schran of Selah was the winner on the No. 2 course, clocking an 18:02.
In the easiest of the three boys races, on the Flight #1 trail, Highland's Christopher Van Horn and Pete Weise placed one-two, respectively, with times of 17:41 and 17:49. Adrian Licea brought home the top finish for Sunnyside, placing sixth with a clocking of 19:58. Teammate Andrew Swinehart was the second Grizzly to cross the finish line, recording a time of 22:15 for a 10th place finish.
In winning the Flight #2 girls race, Messmore was 36 seconds faster than the runner-up-Krista Garcia of Selah. Messmore clocked a time of 23:04 on the moderate trail. Alyson Waddle of Sunnyside was the next Sunnyside girl to cross the finish line, placing sixth in a time of 26:07.
On the Flight #1 trail, Maria Montero and Kelsea Means generated the team points for the Sunnyside girls by placing sixth and ninth, respectively. Montero clocked a 27:51, while Means had a time of 29:48. Caiti Schmitz of Highland won the race in a time of 22:16.
Sunnyside did not enter any runners in the toughest of the three girls races Saturday. In fact, only Selah's Morgan Anyan and Jenna Winterfield ran the Flight #3 course.
In the girls team scoring, Selah scored an invite best 16 points. Sunnyside's girls were second with 26 points, followed by Highland (35), Royal City (43 and Bickleton (58).
Bickleton's top finishers Saturday included Junior Hernandez, third in the Flight #1 boys race (18:35); Orion Yoesle, 16th in the Flight #2 boys race (23:37); Danielle Raschko, fifth in the Flight #2 girls race (25:02); and Cody Loomis, eighth in the Flight #3 boys race (21:22).
The Sunnyside cross country team will host its only meet of the fall season this coming Thursday, Sept. 29. Ellensburg, Hanford and Selah are scheduled to compete against the Grizzly runners.