QUINCY - Two high school seniors from this neck of the woods, one from Bickleton and the other from Sunnyside, garnered 'Top 10' finishes last Saturday at the three-mile Quincy Cross-Country Invitational.
The two upper classmen, Bickleton's Peter Clinton and Sunnyside's Manuel Dimas, finished eighth and ninth, respectively, from the 72-runner varsity boys field.
Clinton crossed the finish line in 17:32. One second behind him, at 17:33, was Dimas.
Sunnyside Coach George Paulus said Dimas' clocking was a personal best.
"It's a step in the right direction for him," Paulus said of Dimas' performance.
The one and only harrier to cover the three-mile course in a time under 17 minutes proved to be sophomore Victor Salgado from the host Quincy Jackrabbits squad. Salgado ran to a clocking of 16:31. That was 35 seconds quicker than runner-up Bradley Buttars of Prosser.
Team-wise in the boys race last Saturday, Quincy defended its home course well, compiling an invite-low 51 points. Besides the first-place finish recorded by Salgado, the Jackrabbits got a fifth-place performance from fellow sophomore Spencer Elmore (17:26) and an 11th place effort from senior Gabriel Martinez (17:37).
The second low scoring boys team was Prosser with 79 points. Buttars (17:06) and Mustang Peyton Sperl (17:23) notched second and third-place performances for Prosser. The Mustangs also got a 12th place finish from freshman Nathan Christensen (17:39).
Pullman and Othello scored 86 and 87 team points, respectively, for third and fourth-place honors. Sunnyside was a distant fifth in the boys standings with 146 points, while Bickleton placed eighth with 208 points from the 11-school field.
Second across the finish line for Sunnyside last Saturday was sophomore Jesus Marquez. He was the 24th harrier to hit the tape, covering the three miles in a time of 18:26. The only other Grizzlies to finish in under 19 minutes were seniors Audiel Sanchez and Alvin Lopez, 30th and 32nd, respectively, in times of 18:42 and 18:43.
Clinton and Bickleton teammate Troy Roberts, a freshman, were the only two Pirates with clockings under 19 minutes. Roberts placed 33rd overall in a time of 18:45.
Bickleton Coach Chris Venema said the Pirates have been working extremely hard to improve their physical and mental toughness.
"We are hoping to repeat last year's district win and secure a berth to state.
"The exciting part about this team is its youth," Venema continued. "Of the eight runners on our team we have two eighth graders, three freshmen and one sophomore.
"Although next year we will greatly miss the speed of senior Peter Clinton and the leadership of senior Joshua Cummings, our prospects for future Bickleton cross-country teams is very promising. It will be exciting to see how the boys match up against schools in our league this week at Granger," Venema added.
In Saturday's girls race at Quincy, only eight schools had enough runners to field complete squads. Pullman, behind winner Miranda Hyatt's 20:49 clocking, posted the low team score of 36 points.
Second-place finishing Quincy, with 71 team points, was led by junior Alejandra Diaz. She came in second in the race with a time of 21:01.
Sunnyside's girls placed fifth in the invite standings with 138 points. The Lady Grizzlies were led by juniors Kayla Gonzalez and Vanesa Quiroz. Gonzalez set a time of 22:36, the 19th lowest clocking from an 87-runner field. Quiroz finished 21st in a time of 23:03. Right on Quiroz's tail were teammates Jeniya Guillen and Claudia Rivera, 23rd and 24th, respectively, with clockings of 23:09 and 23:21.
Bickleton has no girls turning out this fall for cross-country.