Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, June 19, 2019, Page A8, Image 8

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WEDNESDAy, JuNE 19, 2019
Hermiston’s Romero
reflects on golden season
Follow sports on Twitter
Dawgs hire
Moss as
new girls
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Heppner’s Hunter Nichols and Hermiston’s Jazlyn Romero
are the All-EO Athletes of the Year for Track and Tield.
Nichols brought home three first-place finishes for the
Mustangs at the 2A State Track and Field Championships.
Romero brought home the gold in the javelin at the 3A State
Track and Field Championships and is ranked in the top 12
Hermiston’s Jazlyn Romero
and Heppner’s Hunter Nichols
had golden seasons
Jazlyn Romero and Hunter
Nichols could not be more differ-
ent. Nichols is a distance runner,
whereas a trip down the javelin
runway is far enough for Romero.
The one thing that brings them
together is that they are the best at
what they do, which earned them
the East Oregonian’s Outstanding
Athletes for Track and Field.
Romero, a junior at Hermiston,
is one of the top high school jav-
elin throwers in the nation. She is
the first Oregon athlete to win a
Washington state title.
“She wants to be on top (of the
podium) every time,” Hermiston
coach Emilee Strot said. “I think
a lot of people still think of her as
a basketball player. She is much
Nichols, a senior at Heppner,
dominated on the track all season.
He struck gold at the 2A state track
meet, winning the 800 meters, the
3,000 meters, and ran the anchor
leg on the winning 4x400 relay.
“He is a hard worker,” said
Heppner coach Russ Nichols of
his son. “I’ve never had to worry
about that.”
Hard to beat
When Hermiston moved from
the OSAA to the WIAA this
year, Romero already was on the
national radar in the javelin.
This spring, she moved up into
the top 10 at one point, and this
week is ranked 12th with a per-
sonal best throw of 151 feet, 9
“Being 12th is still really excit-
ing,” Romero said. “My goal this
season was to break the school
record. A lot of the time this sea-
son, I forgot I had another season
to do it. I’m striving to get it early
next year.”
Michelle Coombs holds the
school record with a mark of 155-
11, set in 2008.
Romero won the 3A state jav-
elin title in May with a throw of
144-11. It was the second-longest
winning throw in the 3A division
at state in the past eight years.
“I went in confident, but not
too confident,” she said. “Going
in, my mark was the furthest, and
I had that security, but anything
can happen.”
East Oregonian Track and Field Team
Girls MVP: Jazlyn Romero, jr., Hermiston
Boys MVP: Hunter Nichols, sr., Heppner
Girls first team
100M — Kaylee young, so., Hermiston. 200M — Ana Zacarias, sr., Irri-
gon. 400M — Muriel Hoisington, fr., Pendleton. 800M — Hannah
Christman, sr., Griswold. 1500/1600M — Madelyn Nichols, so., Hep-
pner. 3000/3200 — Cydney Sanchez, fr., Hermiston. 100H — Abigail
Cardenas, so., umatilla. 300H — Elisabeth House, sr., Pendleton. Shot
put — Paige Palzinski, so., Hermiston. Discus — Jazlyn Romero, jr.,
Hermiston. Javelin — Jazlyn Romero, jr., Hermiston. HJ — Rebecca
Reynolds, jr., Stanfield/Echo. PV — Katie Vescio, sr., Weston-McE-
wen. LJ — Kaylee young, so., Hermiston. TJ — Paige Palzinski, so.,
Of the 12 meets she threw the
javelin in this spring, there were
only two she did not win. She
was sixth at the prestigious Pasco
Invite, and second at the Dean
Nice Invite in Gresham.
While she excels at the jave-
lin, she’s also working on doing
the same in the discus. She placed
in the top three in seven of the 13
meets she entered.
Her season best was 114-3, and
she missed out on a trip to state by
one place. She finished third at the
District 8 meet.
Romero also throws the shot
put, but she said she’ll leave that
for teammates Paige Palzinski and
Kendall Dowdy.
“We have strong shot put
throwers, but coach will have me
throw it in the smaller meets to get
points for the team,” Romero said.
“Javelin and discus are my main
focus if I want to throw at the col-
lege level.”
Yes, there is an if.
Romero’s first love has always
been basketball, but her success in
track may be pushing the needle to
the other side.
“I have always grown up
with basketball, and that is super
important to me,” Romero said.
“But I have grown to love track.
Girls second team
100M — Patty Burres, jr., umatilla. 200M — Kaylee young, so., Herm-
iston. 400M — Ellie Scheibner, jr., Weston-McEwen. 800M — Made-
lyn Nichols, so., Heppner. 1500/1600M — Kaylee Cope, jr., Griswold.
3000/3200 — Kaylee Cope, jr., Griswold. 100H — Kendall Bonzani,
so., Pendleton. 300H — Bryce Thul, sr., Weston-McEwen. Shot put —
Kendall Dowdy, so., Hermiston. Discus — Eseta Sepeni, fr., Hermiston.
Javelin — Lexie Cox, sr., Stanfield/Echo. HJ — Sarah Knop, jr., Ione. PV
— Regina Thede, jr., Pendleton. LJ — Ellie Scheibner, jr., Weston-McE-
wen. TJ — Tymesha Douglas, jr., umatilla.
Boys first team
100M — Aiden Patterson, sr., Pendleton. 200M — Garrett Walchli,
jr., Hermiston. 400M — Aaron Luke, jr., Pendleton. 800M — Hunter
Nichols, sr., Heppner. 1500/1600M — Trevor Antonucci, sr., Heppner.
3000/3200 — Hunter Nichols, sr., Heppner. 110H — Lane Maher, jr.,
I will have to decide. If I choose
basketball or track, I will be happy
either way.”
It also will decide what level
of school Romero would like
to attend. For track, she could
go Div. I, but with basketball, it
might be Div. II, NAIA or junior
“I have gotten a lot of letters
and questionnaires for track,”
she said. “LSU, Princeton, WSU,
Texas A&M and others.”
Strot, who threw shot put, dis-
cus and javelin in college at Ken-
tucky and UC Berkeley, will be
able to guide Romero through the
“This has been a great year for
her, not only in track,” Strot said.
“If she continues with the high
level of work ethic, she will do
great things. She has bought in
and trusts in what I and the other
coaches ask. We are working on
putting together an athlete pro-
file and video, and getting it out
to schools and see what happens.”
But for now, her focus is on bas-
ketball. Romero plays for the Ore-
gon Elite out of Lake Oswego, and
the next two months are packed
with practices and tournaments.
“Basketball consumes my sum-
mer,” she said.
Pendleton. 300H — Lane Maher, jr., Pendleton. Shot put — Derek
Howard, sr., Heppner. Discus — Derek Howard, sr., Heppner. Javelin
— Sam Jennings, fr., Pendleton. HJ — Shawn yeager, sr., Pendleton.
PV — Anthony Ibarra, sr., umatilla. LJ — Edwin Linares, jr., Pendleton.
TJ — Edwin Linares, jr., Pendleton.
Boys second team
100M — Garrett Walchli, jr., Hermiston. 200M — Cam Sandford,
sr., Pendleton. 400M — Freddy Mendoza, sr., Hermiston. 800M —
Freddy Mendoza, sr., Hermiston. 1500/1600M — Sisay Hurty, so,
Stanfield/Echo. 3000/3200 — Zayne Troeger, sr., umatilla. 110H —
Mathias Patrick, jr., Pendleton. 300H — Saber Harp, sr., Pilot Rock.
Shot put — Sam Carlson, sr., Griswold. Discus — Sam Carlson, sr.,
Griswold. Javelin — Christian Haskell, sr., Pilot Rock. HJ — Julian
Gutierrez, sr., umatilla. PV — Seth Buck, sr., Hermiston. LJ — Anthony
Ibarra, sr., umatilla. TJ — Donovan Wilson, so., Hermiston.
The Hermiston High School
girls basketball team will wel-
come a new leader this winter.
Maloree Moss, 25, will take
the place of former coach Juan
Rodriguez, Athletic and Activ-
ities Director Larry Usher
announced last week.
“I’m extremely honored,”
Moss said. “It’s something I’ve
always dreamed of. I grew up
with the program. As a kid, I
watched the Hermiston girls
play, then I played on the team,
and now I get to coach that pro-
gram. It’s an awesome feeling
that I never thought I’d get to
2012 Hermis-
ton High grad-
uate, earned
a degree in
accounting at
Eastern Ore-
gon Univer-
sity. Instead
of pursuing that career path,
she became a business educa-
tion teacher at Hermiston High
“I decided I wanted to teach
and coach,” Moss said. “It was
a spur of the moment thing.”
Moss is no stranger to
coaching basketball. She’s been
the assistant varsity basketball
coach for the past three sea-
sons, the JV volleyball coach in
2017, and the freshman volley-
ball coach in 2016.
Not only did Moss put in the
work on the Bulldogs varsity
team during her high school
career, but she also played as a
guard all four years at EOU.
“I learned so much about
basketball there,” Moss said of
her time as a Mountaineer. “I
had a real connection with the
team there. It was special.”
As for Rodriguez, his career
transition is less a step down,
and more of a step up. This fall,
he will take on the assistant
principal position at Armand
Larive Middle School.
“It’s always
to move into
tion,” Rodri-
guez said. “I
think it would
soon. I planned on coaching for
a few more years, but it was an
opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
While it was hard to let go of
basketball, it’s good for me and
my kids. I’ll get to spend more
time with them.”
Rodriguez had coached
basketball in one capacity or
another for the past 12 years.
Seven of those were spent
at HHS — three as the head
The Bulldogs were 34-39
under Rodriguez, including a
8-14 record last season — their
first in Washington’s Mid-Co-
lumbia Conference.
“It was by far one of my most
rewarding seasons,” Rodriguez
said. “So many aspects go into
that — going into a new league,
competing in a new conference,
and having a lot of young, ded-
icated players work hard. We
didn’t finish where we wanted
to, but the program set a good
stage for moving forward in the
MCC. I know that Maloree will
continue that. From a tactical
standpoint, she knows basket-
ball in and out. The program is
in good hands.”
Usher will recommend Moss
for the position at the next regu-
lar school board meeting July 8.
“I have really high expecta-
tions of the girls,” Moss said.
“I’m so lucky. I have an awe-
some team, and that’s a big
part of why I feel so honored.
They’ve welcomed me with
open arms. I’m really hoping
we can get one of those playoff
positions, if not more.”