RICHLAND - Sunnyside sophomore Jocelyn Yanez dialed it in at the right time. Competing at last Saturday's 3A Regional cross-country meet at Richland's Carmichael Middle School playfield, Yanez toured the three-mile course with a fifth best time of 19:04.
As one of the top 10 individual finishers in the girls Regional race, Yanez advances to the 3A State meet, to be staged Saturday, Nov. 8, at Pasco's Sun Willows Golf Course.
For the Lady Grizzly underclassman, Saturday's race was the first time this season she has been under 20 minutes on a three-mile course. And, she did it convincingly with her 19:04 clocking.
"Jocelyn has been ready to run that fast for awhile," said SHS Coach Robin Bryson.
The game plan this past Saturday for Yanez was simple...stay with the front part of the pack throughout the remainder of the race.
"She ran a strong race," said Bryson. "She didn't let the pack get away from her."
Yanez is the lone SHS Grizzly harrier to earn a berth to this year's State meet.
Sunnyside's best bet at qualifying someone for the boys race at State was senior Jacob Rogers. He nearly turned the trick at Regionals, finishing just three spots out of the top 10. Rogers placed 13th with a clocking of 16:31. He was 18 seconds behind the 10th place and final qualifier for State, that being Adam Reid of Spokane's North Central High School.
The Grizzly boys team also came close to sending a second runner to State, as senior Jose Alberto Sanchez clocked the same time as Rogers, eventually given the 14th place finish by Regional officials. A third runner last Saturday, Shadle Park's Jonathan Hafferkamp, also hit the finish line in 16:31, but settled for 15th place honors.
A total of eight teams competed at the 3A Regional meet last Saturday, the Big 9's Sunnyside, West Valley and Hanford, as well as five teams from the Greater Spokane League. The top two finishing teams in the both the boys and girls races, as well as the top 10 individuals in both competitions, advance to State.
On the boys side, North Central came away with top team honors, with Mt. Spokane placing second. North Central claimed the top three finishes in the boys race, led by Andrew Kimpel's clocking of 15:05. Teammates Leon Dean and Jeff Howard placed second and third, respectively, with times of 15:09 and 15:10. The fourth through 10th place finishers were Allan Schroeder of Mt. Spokane (15:17), Ben Johnston of North Central (15:18), Nathan Weitz of Shadle Park (15:20), Alexander Avila of North Central (15:30), Casey Adams of North Central (16:05), Caleb Deitz of Mt. Spokane (16:12) and Adam Reid of North Central (16:13).
Besides the two 16:31 clockings of Rogers and Sanchez, the Sunnyside boys team got a 34th place finish from Osbaldo Arroyo (17:49), a 37th place finish from Patrick Watts (18:00), a 43rd place finish from Nathan Gonzalez (18:22), a 46th place finish from Christopher Roman (18:28) and a 48th place finish from Kennedy Sarmiento (18:31).
The 13th and 14th place individual finishes from Rogers and Sanchez were the best clockings on the day from the three schools in the Big 9 League. Hanford's best finish came from Zach Martin, who was 19th in 16:42. West Valley got its best finish from Brian Stump, 16th in a time of 16:32.
A total of 51 boys competed at Regionals. Sunnyside placed fifth in the boys team scoring, one spot back of Hanford and two spots better than the West Valley Rams.
"From front to back, all of our boys ran very well," said Bryson.
On the girls side at Regionals, Sunnyside was one runner short of fielding a complete team, thus was listed as incomplete in the team scoring.
Mt. Spokane, behind the third and fourth place individual finishes of Molly Cole and Courtney Zalud, won the girls team title. Hanford, which got sixth and seventh place individual finishes from Haley Tank and Erin Hegarty, earned runner-up honors in the girls team scoring.
The girls race winner was Shadle Park's Andrea Nelson. She scooted around the course, mostly grass with one hill on each of the loops, in a time of 18:05. Audrey Urlacher of West Valley was a distant second with a clocking of 18:52.
For the Sunnyside girls team, Marlene Manzo placed 43rd from the 48-girl field in a time of 21:49. Sarasa Partida and Noemi Andrea Salmeron earned 45th and 47th place finishes for Sunnyside, respectively, with clockings of 22:21 and 25:26.