How impressive was Erin Hegarty's performance at Hermiston’s Brooks XC Fest last weekend?
Not only did the Hanford junior shatter the course record at Sandstone Middle School by 10 seconds — a course that has seen a lot of talented runners over the years — but she also took on Idaho standout Kate Jamboretz and left her in the dust.
Hegarty and the Boise runner separated from the pack early, blazing to a 5:45 opening mile on the 5-kilometer course.
"Which is stinkin' fast," noted Falcons coach Sean Mars. "It was pretty special to watch. They were flat flying shoulder to shoulder."
But by the end of the second mile, Hegarty had opened a big lead, going on to win by 32 seconds over a girl who had finished just 6 seconds behind at last year's Sunfair Invite.
One last thing: It was Hegarty’s first race of the season, while Jamboretz was running in her third, having won her previous two starts.
-- On the team side of things, the Kamiakin boys earned a mountain of respect by hanging with Ferris and North Central at the Tracy Walters Invite.
Ferris (ranked anywhere from No. 1 to No. 5 in the nation) and North Central (last year’s national champ and ranked in the mid-teens this season) split two scoring scenarios, and the Braves finished third.
Kamiakin, which came into the season ranked 45th in the DyeStat Elite/ESPN Rise Fab 50, finished 12 points off second-place North Central in the traditional method of scoring the top five runners for each team.
That jumped the Braves all the way up to No. 15 in the nation at Milesplit.us, pretty high for a team that hasn’t qualified for state in 18 seasons.
Richland's girls also had a strong showing in Spokane, finished second to Shadle Park, though with almost double the points, 60-31. Lauren Dernbach was sixth (19:47 on the 3-mile course) and Maggie Jones eighth (19:59) to pace the Bombers.
-- Speaking of rankings, both Kamiakin (3) and Southridge (8) are in the Washington 4A boys preseason coaches poll. Ferris is No. 1, followed by Henry Jackson of Mill Creek, which also is getting a lot of national attention.
North Central, the three-time defending state champ, is of course No. 1 in the 3A poll. The only Mid-Columbia squad getting any love south of the 4A level is Kiona-Benton, which received some votes in the 1A poll.
On the girls side, Richland starts the season ranked seventh in the 4As, with Eastlake occupying the top spot. Hegarty’s Hanford squad is 10th in the 3As, with Glacier Peak and Shadle Park 1-2. Ki-Be’s girls picked up some votes but didn't crack the top 10 in the 1A poll.
Regionally, Dyestat ranks Ferris, Jackson and North Central one-two-three in the Northwest, with Kamiakin pegged seventh. On the girls side, perennial Oregon power Jesuit is No. 1, with Eastlake ranked third and Richland "on the bubble."