Cascade & WESCO Conference, Lakewood HS, Arlington, Wa.
Saturday both the Cascade & WESCO Conferences held their championships at Lakewood High School campus & the weather did a reasonable job of cooperating. Although there had been high winds the night before, that caused power outages nearby and some scattering of debris, volunteers had the course in fine shape on race day, although the course was quite soggy in some places due to recent downpours. The rain did cooperate, so that the runners did not have to deal with that during the race. The course itself is fan-friendly with most of the race relatively easy to view with a minimal amount of effort & only a small portion is out of view. It included moderate hills to break up the pack of runners.
Rhiannon Alexander of Granite Falls got things under way quickly by seizing the lead early and continuing to hold it throughout the race. Her winning time was 19:16, which gave her a four second cushion over fast-closing Rici Morrill of Sultan. Behind her Chelsea Stokes of Lakewood & Cara Strodel of Cedarcrest dueled for third with Stokes pulling away at the end. Lakewood’s Rachel Cundy placed fifth by edging Missy Dowd of Cedarcrest. Adele Eslinger & Makenzie Taylor of King’s took 7th & 8th, while Chelsea Sowards of Lakewood & Desiree Nieblas of Cedarcrest rounded out the top ten. Cedarcrest won the team competition with a low total of 46 points to defeat second place Lakewood by 15 & King’s earned third with 68 points.
The individual battle for the boys’ championship of the Cascade Conference saw two stirring duels: one for first and another for third. Taylor Guske of Lakewood & Conner Ballew of Archbishop Murphy left their competitors early and battled for most of the race. The lead switched a number of times, as first Taylor & then Conner, would move ahead only to see their rival come back again. Conner took over the lead during the second loop, as they raced out of sight and appeared to be heading to a win, as they approached the soccer field and headed for the track, but Guske found something left just before reaching the track and surged away for the victory in a time of 16:26. Ballew followed him home five seconds later. The battle for third was a fine one as well with Chad Skiles & Harris (Hap) Emmons racing far ahead of the chase pack. In the end it was Skiles, who earned a narrow victory by one second with a time of 17:02. Sam Holeman of Archbishop Murphy took 5th in 17:33 and his team mate Ryan Loutsis came from well back early to garner sixth. Maika Matalomani of Granite Falls took 7th in 17:41 edging Josh Denison & Nick Mow by a second. Nick Howe of Lakewood & Ben Saari of South Whidbey rounded out the top eleven. The team battle was also quite close with host Lakewood nipping Archbishop Murphy 44 to 47. King’s with 84 points took third ahead of Cedarcrest, which had 99 points.
The afternoon racing featured the teams from the WESCO conference with the South teams racing first. The girls’ race offered a view of Glacier Peak, which is one of the top teams in the Northwest. Beyond that it gave fans a chance to see Amy-Elosie Neal, who followed a national championship in track this summer with victories at the Silverwood & South Whidbey Invitations. She also scored a victory on the same course earlier this fall in the Hole in the Wall Invitational, where she established a course record of 18:21. Amy did not disappoint as she moved ahead of her team mates early and then drew away to a convincing victory in a time of 18:14. With the course as wet as it was, it was an impressive time, as she can now prepare for State. Her Glacier Peak team mates ran as a pack of four behind her for most of the race, as it appeared that they might be heading for a shut-out victory but Erin Johnson of Shorewood had other ideas. She shadowed the GP pack for two miles before threading her way through the pack and then raced home alone in a time of 19:13. Glacier, which has the National Team race on its radar, took the next four spots as Brenna Condon, Katie Bianchi, Sarah Whybark & Stephanie Jones took the next places. Betsie Hopper of Edmonds-Woodway followed the Glacier girls into the shute in a time of 19:44. Kamiak’s Stephanie Moore garnered 8th in 19:49 while Juliette Becker & Kelsey Fruland of Henry Jackson round up the top ten. Glacier Peak, of course, easily won the team title with a low of only 19 points but Shorewood, backed by Charlee Linton (13th) & Emily Osborne (15th) took second place with 76 points. Henry Jackson earned third with 96 points topping Edmonds-Woodway by nine.
While the Glacier Peak girls are ranked high in the region, the Henry Jackson guys are considered one of the nation’s top teams and they certainly looked the part on Saturday. Although Jon Hanson of Meadowdale took the lead shortly after the start, the Jackson pack ran together as a team. They were unconcerned with the pace, seemingly doing a tempo workout & aiding each other along the way. They moved to the front as a team & continued to work together until around the two mile mark, where they got down to the business of racing. Mitchell Briggs, who said that he had wanted to make amends for an off day at the previous Puma Concordia Classic, led the way with a time of 15:55, which easily bettered the course record of 16:03. Sean Roe finished second, as he too was below the old record with a time of 16:04. HJ runners Connor Frederickson, Blake Nelson & Nathan Calacat followed in 3rd through 5th and Jon Hanson was the first non-Jackson runner. His time of 16:29 saw him finish six seconds in front of Ryan Weed of Glacier Peak. Nick Schonewald of Jackson finished 8th, while Sean White (Glacier) & Alex Brock of Shorewood rounded out the top ten and Chris Knackal of HJ took 11th to put icing on the proverbial cake. Jackson’s total was a perfect 15 and Glacier Peak earned 2nd by an 86 to 93 margin over Shorecrest, while Shorewood was fourth. Matt Sherk of HJ placed 16th in 17:02, as he & the team prepares for the upcoming State & National team championships.
The WESCO North girls’ race saw Minna Fields of Stanwood do her rendition of Amy-Eloise Neale as she took off early and was never headed. The junior runner, who has plans for the prestigious Footlocker National Championship, ran a fine time of 18:41. Considering, that she raced virtually alone & on a soggy course, her time was impressive. Samantha Minor of Lake Stevens ran 19:07 to finish alone in second, as Adrianna Royal of Oak Harbor & Chelsea Dowdell of Everett battled for third & fourth respectively finishing only two seconds apart. In fifth was Natasha Verma of Stanwood, who ran 19:20. Rachel Lefsted, Allison Duvenir, Jordin Stephenson, Suzanna Olsen & Veronica Hall rounded out the top ten. Stanwood eassily claimed the team title with a total of 46 points. Arlington’s Teresa Wadey edged Snohomish’s Sigrid Thoreson for 11th place and that key victory allowed Oak Harbor to edge Snohomish 89 to 90 for second in the team race.
Dylan Hopper of Cascade-Everett won the WESCO North title with a time of 16:12 defeating Tyler King of Oak Harbor by four seconds. Angelo Comeaux of Everett ran 16:34 to take third two seconds ahead of Aaron Campbell of Cascade-Everett. Jared Lebning of Snohomish finished 5th in front of Everett’s Cody MacDougall & Mason Newton. Wade Weinert (Stanwood), Johnny Bywater (Lake Stevens) & Matthew Reith of Oak Harbor rounded out the top ten.
The meet was well run with prompt results, which happily included the runners’ bib numbers. One especially neat feature was a laminated press pass that included a map of the course on the back, which was most helpful. It was also very nice of them to have a fireworks display (homecoming) at the high school as we arrived Friday evening making it very easy to find the course.
Cascade Conference Girls
Cascade Conference Boys
WESCO Girls South
WESCO North Boys
WESCO South Boys