LEWISTON, Idaho — Eastern Oregon University cross-country hit the trails again the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 12, as the men and women competed in Lewiston, Idaho, at the Lewis-Clark State College Winter Invitational. Michelle Herbes was the overall winner in the women’s 5K race, while the men and women each placed third.
Host school LC State picked up the win in both races. The men’s team for the Warriors scored 23 points to secure the win, according to a press release from EOU, while the women scored 28 points. Northwest University was second in both races and the Mountaineers right behind.
Herbes, a junior from Union, headlined the day for the Mountaineers with a first-place finish in the women’s race in a time of 18:35 for the 5K course. This was Herbes’ first win of the season, and she has been the top finisher for the Mountaineers in each of their three races so far.
The winter storms that last week moved over the Pacific Northwest played a role in Lewiston. By race time, the temperature was a crisp 19 degrees with snow falling, according to the press release. The wind was not too strong, but the weather made for a challenging race day for all competitors.
The men hit the LC State cross-country trail first as they battled in an 8K race. Once again, sophomore Hunter Nichols of Heppner led the EOU pack as he crossed the finish line in 26:30 and placed eighth overall. It is the second straight race for Nichols where he has led the way for the Mountaineer men’s squad.
The next EOU runner across the finish line was senior Hunter Schiess of Salem. He placed 15th overall with a time of 27:58. The Mountaineers then had three of the final scored runners come in all in a row, with the trio finishing in the top-20.
Freshman Jonathan Wind of Meridian, Idaho, was the first of the three as he placed 17th with a time of 28:08. Coming in behind him was freshman JP Friedrichsen from Burns in a time of 28:37. Ten seconds later, Eastern Oregon’s final scored runner crossed the line — freshman Bennett Welch of La Grande had a time of 28:47. And senior Chris Llanos of Ketchikan, Alaska, was the final Mountaineer runner to finish as he placed 25th running a 30:46.
The women’s race was highlighted by Herbes as she dominated the event and finished ahead of second place by 15 seconds and held a pace of 5:59.
The next EOU distance harrier to come in was freshman Jaimee Baxter of Union who was 11th overall in a time of 19:52. Four spots back was junior Calista Van Delden of Grants Pass who placed 15th with a time of 20:27. And Katie Jo Gebhardt of Salmon, Idaho, was right behind Van Delden, running a rounded time of 20:27 to finish 16th.
Junior Kendra Blake of La Grande was the final scored run to cross the line for the EOU women, placing 24th in a time of 21:42. The next two runners behind Blake were also Mountaineers. Dierdre McKay, a junior from Portland, finished 25th at 22:05, followed by Jessica McDonald, a freshman from Zillah, Washington, in 26th at 25:00 flat.
Eastern Oregon University on Monday, Feb. 15, announced Herbes received recognition for her early cross-county season efforts, with the Embrace Health-Santiam Hospital naming her its Athlete of the Week. This was the second consecutive week an EOU student-athlete received the honor.