October 5, 2008 by Scott Spruill
Davis High School's Sandra Martinez settles into the elite girls' race at the 35th annual Sunfair cross country meet at Franklin Park Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008. (Andy Sawyer/Yakima Herald-Republic) MORE PHOTOS BELOW
And on Saturday the two Davis seniors authored their Franklin farewells in nearly identical fashion - gritty, competitive efforts that led all Valley athletes in the sea of 2,500 runners in the 35th annual Sunfair Invitational.
Martinez finished sixth in the girls elite flight, which as expected turned out to be the deepest ever despite a slow track softened by heavy rain Friday night and Saturday morning.
With a time of 18 minutes, 34 seconds, Martinez was among 10 runners who broke 19 minutes, a Sunfair record. Her time ranks eighth all-time among Sunfair locals, although it was eight seconds off her junior time.
“I guess I’m fine with that because it definitely was slower today,” said Martinez, who raced in the elite flight for the third year in a row and has never been out of the top seven. “This is still only my fourth race of the season, so I’m coming along.
“I was hoping to be a little higher up, but I knew there were a lot of great runners here,” she added. “It was exciting being introduced with all of them.”
Schooley’s Sunfair heritage may be unprecedented. Six years ago she won the grade-school race and on Saturday she competed in the No. 6 varsity flight for the fourth consecutive year.
Davis High School's Shawna Schooley runs in the sixth flight of the 25th annual Sunfair cross country meet at Franklin Park Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008. (Andy Sawyer/Yakima Herald-Republic) MORE PHOTOS BELOW
In her final Sunfair, Schooley produced a career-best time of 19:10 while placing third, also a four-year best. Not bad, considering she didn’t feel that great.
“Maybe it was just being here all day screaming and cheering for my teammates, but I felt so tired. The race was like a mental sprint all the way,” she said. “With the way the race felt, it’s great I still got a PR. That’s my best ever and I’ve run this course a lot.”
The Pirates, who came in ranked fourth in Class 4A, had some difficulty holding up over seven flights and settled for 11th place overall and eighth among 4A teams.
Behind Martinez in the final flight, Neola Putnam of Trout Lake-Glenwood finished 17th in 19:35, easily the top 2B-1B effort of the day, and Eisenhower freshman Myra Chavez was 26th in 20:03, leading the Cadets to 14th overall.
The next best local effort came from Wapato freshman Samantha Blodgett, who placed sixth in the fifth flight in 20:06.
Mead sophomore Baylee Mires became the 10th girl in Sunfair history to crack 18 minutes, running 17:59 on the wet course with a powerful last mile that put away Gig Harbor’s Alyssa Andrews (18:11).
Andrews still had reason to celebrate. Her effort helped the Tides when their first Sunfair title, a trophy that had been previously elusive for the three-time reigning state champions.
Through six flights, Gig Harbor held an 18-19 lead over Sehome, which had a strong seventh-flight contender in Annie Moore. Andrews’ two points put GH’s tally at 20 while Moore finished seventh for the runner-up Mariners.
First place finisher (Bailey Mires) in the elite flight of the 35th annual Sunfair cross country meet at Franklin Park Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008 from Mead High School (Andy Sawyer/Yakima Herald-Republic)