Brooks Invitational at Sandstone MS, Hermiston, Or.-5K


With temperatures in the 90’s and a cloudless sky the weather conditions were certainly less than ideal, as Brooks began its sponsorship of the Hermiston Invitational. Still in spite of the weather fans witnessed some fine racing by some quality teams. Fortunately for all the course was not demanding with only some small upgrades & good footing throughout the course. For the record the course offered a fan-friendly view of the race as runners were for the most part always in view & it was so well laid-out that runners would have had to make an effort to run off-course.

The girl’s varsity race was the second-last of a day that also offered both middle school and junior varsity racing. The ultimate tone of the race was set by Erin Hegarty of Hanford, who took a three yard little at about the 100 meter mark of the race. In second trailed Kim Macias of Hermiston, who was trailed closely by Kate Jamboretz of Boise. Slightly behind them strode Angelica Rodriguez of Hermiston, Marisa Vander Malle of Pasco & Shay Woodhouse of Boise. In fairness to Boise it should be noted that their girls were not at full strength, as Michelle Hickerson & Elizabeth Ryan, who were the 2nd & 3rd runners at last week’s Caldwell Invitational, were missing due to taking the ACT exam.

Hegarty continued to lead, as the girls made the turn and raced out of view and headed for a circle of the “Field of Dreams” baseball complex. By the time the runners returned to sight Jamboretz had joined Hegarty at the front to challenge for the lead. They were side-by-side as they reached the mile mark in a time of 5:45. About twenty yards behind them were Pasco’s Marisa Vander Malle & Janette Rodriguez & behind them followed Angelica Rodriguez & Shay Woodhouse, who held a ten meter lead over Kimberly Macias, who was battling Dessie Weigel of Boise for seventh. A bit behind them followed Grace Viuhkola of Hood River & Evan Gustavsen of Boise.

The leaders remained together as they raced around the tennis courts and then ran parallel to the school & then began to head around the soccer field, where they returned to the start to begin the second lap of the course. The sun was very bright and merciless as it burned through the atmosphere & in point of fact it was so bright that it was difficult to peer into the camera to see the runners. Hegarty looked very fluid as she raced down the field but the sun was already taking its toll on Jamboretz, who was showing the strain of effort & the heat o her face. She was not at full-strength & certainly not the runner, who had earlier defeated Idaho State Champion Liz Brandon at both the Caldwell & Camelsback meets. Still she valiantly struggled to hang on to the leader, as they once again raced out of sight.

Once they returned to view the outcome of the race was evident with Hegarty gliding fluidly along the course about twenty meters ahead of the struggling Jamboretz. Hegarty had reached the two mile mark in 11:30 and would not slow down much as she cruised through the final mile & change. She wore a bright smile on her face when she raced down the final straight. Her final time of 18:41 was ten seconds better than the course record set by Christy Paul, who won the event in 2002. Jamboretz came home second in a time of 19:13 & it should be noted that her time was a second better than the previous second best all-time mark set by Jennifer Macias, when she won the meet back in 2005. Macias is now running well at Oregon State, so it says much about her effort.

Angelica Rodriguez took third in a time of 20:03 and is a special story in her own right. This is the first year she has run cross country & it was her first race as well. In her first three years she ran track for Hermiston but only in the sprints. With Summit’s Kellie Schueler dominating she has still managed to score at State but it was a pleasant surprise to see her racing as an harrier and she vows to move up to at least the 800 for the next spring campaign. We can only expect her to continue to improve as this season progresses. Pasco runner Marisa Vander Malle claimed 4th two seconds behind the Hermiston flash & was followed by her only team mate Janette Rodriguez, who took 5th.

Boise’s Shay Woodhouse & Dessie Weigel finished 6th & 7th & Kimberly Macias took 8th. Marie Miller of The Dalles-Watonka finished 11 seconds behind Macias in a time of 21:23 & Evan Gustavsen claimed tenth. The team battle saw Boise victorious with a total of 29 points, while Hermiston scored 48 to 2nd. Hanford placed third with 76 points which topped Hood River Valley by 8 points. The girls’ race offered some very promising results but nothing more so than Erin Hegarty. Erin is hardly new to the scene but she gave hints to a good deal of talent that is ready to really reach fruition. She credited Jamboretz with being a great runner, while seemingly being rather unaware of her own ability. We look forward to her future development. Kate Jamboretz was impressive too in spite of the fact she was not at full strength & her spirit was readily evidenced.

The guys’ race began with the illusion that there might be a great deal of competition for first. Aaron Baeza & Patrick Sadil of Hood River took the lead, as Eric Fitzpatrick of Boise followed waiting to see if someone would push the pace. Next to him ran Zach Martin of Hanford & they were followed by Casey Casillas of Richland, Stuart Kretzschmar & Javier Velasco of Hermiston. The pack loomed closely behind.

Fitzpatrick, who had missed the team’s first meet as he did not have enough practices registered, showed that he is in form once he realized that the leadership duties would be left to him. He made a surge as they raced away towards the field of dreams and by the time that he next appeared, it was obvious that the race was over unless something strange happened. He rolled through the mile in a time of 4:57. Tom Sheehy of Union was the second to reach the mile but with a time of 5:07, he had already lost contact. Following another ten meters back were Stuart Kretzschmar of Richland, Kenton Freemuth of Boise & Nur Sofe of La Grande. The rest of the runners were stretched out behind them including Yonny Castillo of Hood River, who was well behind at that point.

Fitzpatrick raced around the perimeter of the course returning to the start and it was obvious no one was going to be able to mount a challenge. As he headed off again to the baseball field he was still trailed by Union’s Sheehy. Another twenty meters removed raced Castillo, Kretzschmar & Casillas. The rest of the field remained spread out behind them.

Fitzpatrick is a two-time champion in Idaho’s large school division and wanted to post a fast early season time to get the season rolling and he was well on his way, as he reached the two-mile mark in 9:59. It more than a half minute before anyone else would follow & the complexion of the race behind him had changed by the time that the next runners appeared. Sheehy was still in second but now he was closely followed by Kretzschmar & Castillo.

The heat was now taking its toll on everyone & even Fitzpatrick conceded that it became hard to push alone with the sun beating down on him. Still, although he backed off the pace a bit over the last mile, he came home with a very solid time of 15:50 to break the course record held by Brian Ellis of West Valley (Yakima) by 11 seconds. Of note also former Hermiston star Jordan Ringe’s best time of the course was 16:06 & it attests to the fact that Fitzpatrick will be a formidable force later in the season. His goal is not just another state title but a berth in the “prestigious” Footlocker competition. Of note Eric was one of the West’s top alternate runners last fall, finishing 17th and he may well have qualified had he not been part of a large pile-up of runners early in the race.

Finishing in the place position 64 seconds after the Boise star was Yonny Castillo. Castillo ran a smart race to gradually move through the pack & his time of 16:54 in the extreme heat shows that he has improved. Stuart Kretzschmar earned third with a time of 16:57 & Tom Sheehy followed up 4th 12 seconds behind him. Boise’s kenton Freemuth & Richard Wojan took 5th & 6th ahead of Javier Velasco of Hermiston. Casey Casillas of Richland finished 8th and Miles Ranck of Boise was 9th. Samule Wick of hermiston edged Donnie Clauson of Wahtonka to place tenth. Adam Litster of Boise took 12th to seal the Boise victory. The final team results show Boise winning 33 to 67 over Richland. Host Hermiston took third with 86 points & The Dalles-Wahtonka finished 4th.

In the girls junior varsity race Molly Bradbury of Boise bested her team mate Mary Corrick 21:57 to 22:02. Amber Hughes, Tia Imbriani & & Mackenzie Platt took 3rd thru 5th. Boise dominated the race taking the top five places plus seventh through 11th place. Only Catie Coleman of Hermiston, who ran 23:03, could break up the Boise pack. Andrew Valdez of Hermiston earned victory in the boys’ JV race with a time of 18:04, while Obi Harriman of Umatilla finished four seconds behind him. Micah Ellis & Maier of Richland took the next two spots. Jose Macias of Hermiston was most impressive in the Middle School race as he ran a fine time of 9:45 for a mile & one-half.. Despite the heat the race went off pretty much without a hitch with only one runner briefly going down & even she was able to finish in the end. Happily the results followed quickly, so everyone could get into the shade.