ELLENSBURG - Sunnyside High School junior Brittany Messmore bested the field in the girls race at the Ellensburg Cross Country Invitational this past Saturday.
Messmore, the seventh place finisher at the invite last season as a sophomore, posted a time of 15 minutes, 29 seconds. That was eight seconds faster than the runner-up, East Valley senior Melissa Jeffery (15:37).
Of the 16 girls varsity teams, only five of them had full four-person squads. East Valley won the girls team title with an invite low 45 points. Ephrata was 10 points back (55) for runner-up team honors. Sunnyside entered just two runners in the girls varsity race, the other being freshman Marlene Manzo. She clocked a time of 19:12 for 44th place honors from among the 62 competitors.
On the boys side, freshman Jordan Esqueda paced Sunnyside to a fourth place team finish. Esqueda ran a heady race in posting a time of 12:50, the fourth fastest clocking of the day. The only three runners to best him were Isak Bergman of Ellensburg (12:02), Jeff Knutson of East Valley (12:40) and Matt Nodine of Ellensburg (12:49).
The host Bulldogs won the boys team title with an invite low 32 points. East Valley was a distance second with 74 points, Wapato third with 101 points and Sunnyside fourth with 113 points. Fifth place Cashmere was well back with 160 points.
The second runner to hit the finish line for Sunnyside in the boys varsity race was sophomore Jacob Rogers. He clocked a time of 13:06. Rounding out the team scoring for the Grizzlies varsity team were sophomore Gracen Gonzalez in 14th place (13:30) and junior Gilberto Villalobos in 36th place (14:29).
Also competing in the boys varsity race for Sunnyside were senior Dane Schmick (15:04) and freshman Matt Hatfield (15:42).
In Saturday's JV boys race, freshman Kennedy Sarmiento claimed the top finish for the Grizzlies. He placed 11th overall with a clocking of 14:56.
Sunnyside's top finisher in the JV girls race was sophomore Monica Manzo. She placed fifth in a time of 21:22.