Hermiston Bulldogs Run to Conference Cross-Country Honors

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Hermiston's Elizabeth Newman smiles midway through the varsity girls 5-kilometer run at the Runner's Soul Cross-Country Fest on Sept. 9, 2023 in Hermiston. Newman and Megan Joyce earned Mid-Columbia Conference first-team honors. (Kathy Aney/East Oregonian file photo)

The Hermiston cross-country teams had much to celebrate in 2023, with five boys and four girls earning Mid-Columbia Conference honors, along with girls coach Troy Blackburn earning coach of the year honors.

The Hermiston girls shared the regular-season MCC title with Kamiakin, and Liz Newman and Megan Joyce earned first-team honors. Lillian Fields was named to the second team, while Taylor Blackburn was named to the honorable mention team.

Kennewick’s Morgan Thompson was the runner of the year.

Newman finished third in the first MCC meet of the season with a time of 19:49.91 over the 5,000-meter course, with Joyce second at 20:04.11, and Fields 11th at 20:54.32.

The second MCC meet, which was on the 3-mile course at Lawrence Scott Park, Joyce was third (18:33.57), while Newman was fourth (18:35.30) and Fields sixth (18:50.32).

At the MCC 3A district championships, Newman finished second in 19:57.92, while Field was third (20:17.51), and Joyce was fourth (20:59.42).

Newman’s top time of the year was 19:10.10 at the Oregon City Invitational. She went on to place 36th at the 3A state meet.

Joyce’s top time of the year was in the first MCC meet of the season. She placed 72nd at state.

Fields ran a PR of 20:06.70 at the District 8 Championships. She ran to a 62nd place at state.

The Hermiston boys were led by junior Jaysen Rodriguez and senior John Mills all season. Both earned first-team honors, while Gabriel Anderson was named to the second team, and Hunter Hansell and Jose Juarez earned honorable mention honors.

Kamiakin’s Ezra Teeples was the runner of the year, with Kamiakin’s Matt Rexus the coach of the year.

Mills was second at the first MCC meet of the season with a time 16:04.97, with Rodriguez third in 16:07.41, and Anderson ninth (16:53.22).

In the second MCC race on the 3-mile course at Lawrence Scott Park, Mills was third (15:10.32), Rodriguez fourth (15:15.78), and Anderson 12th (15:55.51).

Rodriguez won the boys 3A MCC district title with a time of 16:22.25, just a step ahead of Mills (16:22.45). Anderson was fifth (17:32.77), and the Bulldogs won the district title with 21 points.

Rodriguez finished fourth at the District 8 meet with a time of 16:11.95, while Mills was seventh (16:19.79), and Anderson 24th (17:12.45).

Rodriguez and Mills led the Bulldogs to state, with Mills crossing the finish line in 14th place (16:11.20), while Rodriguez was 21st (16:19), Hansell was 124th (17:38.40), Anderson was 132nd (17:44.50), and Franco Gonzalez Mendoza was 141st (17:50.80). Hermiston finished 12th in the team standings.

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