ELLENSBURG - Juan Reynoso and Nathan Gonzalez, both seniors, powered the Sunnyside High School boys cross-country team to a fourth-place finish at the Ellensburg Invitational this past Saturday.
Grandview's boys also competed at the invite, which proved to be the season opener for both the Greyhound and Grizzly harriers. Grandview, however, elected not to enter any runners in the varsity race, which eliminated the 'Hounds from the team scoring.
Ellensburg's 2.35-mile course winds along a series of ponds, the Yakima River and forest trails, making for less than spectacular times.
Despite the not-so-speedy track, J.P. Wolpert of 4A Walla Walla, which went on to capture first-place honors in the boys team scoring with 44 points, clocked the fastest time of the day. Wolpert hit the finishing tape in 11:45. That was 21 seconds ahead of the runner-up in the varsity competition, a 12:06 clocking set by West Valley's Chase Mears. The Rams settled for the No. 3 spot in the boys team scoring with 88 points. The host Bulldogs placed second with 60 points, thanks chiefly to Jeffrey Ott's time of 12:07, third fastest on the day.
The next highest finishing team from the 13 schools that fielded varsity squads, with 119 points, was Sunnyside. Reynoso sped to a clocking of 12:32, the sixth best individual time Saturday. Gonzalez was second in for the Grizzly boys with the 10th best time from among the 91-runner varsity field, clocking a time of 12:50.
Also competing for the SHS varsity squad this past Saturday were junior Reyes Cuevas, 28th place in 13:28; senior Omar Cantu, 35th place in 13:42; junior Alvin Lopez, 40th place in 13:46; junior Eduardo Cuevas, 52nd place in 14:15; and senior Eric Espindola, 57th place in 14:29.
Sunnyside's girls, like the Grandview boys, did not run in the varsity race.
The fastest runner on the day for the SHS girls was sophomore Kayla Gonzalez. She placed fourth in the JV competition with a time of 17:44. The girls JV winner was Emily Atkinson of Walla Walla with a clocking of 17:17.
The Lady Grizzlies in the junior varsity race also got a 10th place finish from sophomore Betsy Reynoso (18:13), a 14th place finish from sophomore Griselda Diaz (18:43), a 47th place finish from senior Yunuenn Garcia (22:39) and a 53rd place finish from senior Dezma Hernandez (24:08).
The girls varsity race winner was Walla Walla's Rachel Nelson, who sped to a clocking of 14:50. The Blue Devils won top honors in the girls team scoring.
In the boys JV race last Saturday, West Valley's Benito Rodriguez and Nathan Lund gave the Rams junior varsity a one-two finish with respective clockings of 13:40 and 13:43. Grandview freshman Samuel Cuevas was the next harrier to cross the finish line, placing third with a time of 13:44.
None of the other Grandview or Sunnyside runners were able to manage a Top 10 finish in the 86-runner JV field.
The one other race staged last Saturday in Ellensburg, for less experienced male runners, was won by Sunnyside sophomore Audiel Sanchez. From a field of 82, Sanchez toured the 2.35-mile course in a time of 14:54, 29 seconds quicker than the next best time.
The SHS cross-country team is scheduled to jump into Columbia Basin Big Nine League play this coming Thursday at East Wenatchee.
Grandview's harriers are slated to compete next on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Highland Invitational.