Saturday's Richland Invite was a good time, and it wasn't just because of the weather.
A rare sunny day -- gray skies and even spitting rain usually are the backdrop -- saw more than a few runners hit the wall when they didn't adjust to warmer conditions.
There was plenty for local running fans to cheer about, with Richland's Anthony Armstrong repeating as the boys champion and eclipsing his previous meet and course record in 14:52.03. Seven boys and five girls posted top-20 finishes in the gigantic field (209 boys, 124 girls in the two premier races).
But what struck me most was the performances by the younger runners, freshman and sophomores showing no fear amid big and talented fields.
On the boys side, Hermiston sophomores Alejandro Cisneros (12th, 15:46.23) and Jose Macias (16th, 15:50.28) and Kamiakin's Keegan McCormick (14th, 15:47.24) had big days; on the girls, Richland freshman Lindsey Bradley was third in 18:04.89, sophomore teammate Lauren Perry was 21st (19:34.30) and Southridge freshman Emily Kump was 24th (19:44.20).
Bradley's time was the ninth fastest ever run on the course. Also, it was 33 seconds faster than Hanford standout Erin Hegarty ran in her freshman year at the Invite (18:37), and the Tri-City Herald's three-time runner of the year is running for Baylor this fall.
Of course, "on pace" never guarantees results, but it will be fun to watch these young guns down the road.