The state of Washington has a long and impressive history in cross country, which goes back at least to the 1960’s when Gerry Lindgren & later Don Kardong put up some marks that turned heads. Even at that it has not been an all male show either & Kathy Knowlton & Kris Katterhagen represented the State at Foot Locker in its second year. Just in this century Brie Felnagle and Megan O’ Reilly made noise at Foot Locker. Some fans may have thought that there might be a slight downward slide with the graduation of Amy-Eloise Neale and Katie Knight last spring but Alexa Efraimson of Camas strongly suggested she may be the best ever after blazing the Sun Willows course in Pasco in a record 17:01. Early reports suggested that Alexa had broken seventeen minutes but no matter: hers was a stellar effort. Her clocking saw her finish almost a minute ahead of a field that was hardly lacking in talent.
Lindsey Bradley of Richland ran a fine 17:56 to claim second ahead of Alexis Fuller of Union, who ran 18:05. For Fuller it was her second third place finish in a row after coming home second as a freshman. Brenna Peloquin of Gig Harbor raced across the line in 18:06 to claim fourth and Amber Rose of Inglemoor followed in 18:11. Coming in sixth was Alissa Pudlitzke of Camas, who ran 18:18, and Sofia Kane, a senior from Olympia, had the distinction of being the first non-junior to finish with 18:24. Delaney Tiernan of Tahoma garnered 8th in 18:26 & Rose Christen of Central Kitsap ran 18:27to nip Elise Tello of Eisenhower, who shared the time in tenth. Maizy Brewer of Skyline was also credited with that clocking.
Jordan McPhee of Mt. Rainier closed out her fine career, that included a State championship & a berth in Foot Locker nationals as a sophomore, with a 12th place time of 18:34. Right behind her was Emily Thomas of Bellarmine Prep, who led her squad to the team title with a low of 92 points. Cross Country is a true team sport with the top five runners playing an integral part in a team’s fate. That certainly in evidence on Saturday, when Hannah Derby struggled through an off day. Relegated to fifth runner due to the vagaries of racing, Bellarmine ’s fate rested on her, as she negotiated the terrain but she kept it together and closed with a gutsy final 1000 Meters to give Coach Matt Ellis and the team what it needed. With that Camas placed second with 105 points and Tahoma came in third with 125. The fact, that the sixth runner can also be very crucial was also in evidence, as Snohomish ended up with 193 points like Central Kitsap but the difference between fifth & sixth was Shawna Krueger, who placed 73rd but more importantly finished before Central Kitsap ‘s sixth girl.
Lakeside runners Andrea Masterson and Sophie Cantine led the way in 3A with Masterson winning in 17:50 & Cantine taking second in 18:02. Nicole Goecke of Prairie closed out her prep XC career with a third place effort of 18:13. It is at tribute to the effort she has put in during her four years, as she progressed from a 28th place finish as a freshman, 16th as a sophomore and 7th last year. Brigette Takeuchi of Liberty-Issaquah finished 4th with 18:31 & Kaylee Sanchez of Kamiakin ran 18:41 to claim fifth. Although Glacier Peak graduated both Amy-Eloise Neale & Katie Bianchini, a Foot Locker finalist, and could not match Lakeside up front, their depth pulled them through to a 102 – 112 victory over Lakeside. They were led by the twelfth pace finish of Megan Davis, who ran 19:01 but also had support from Katherine Dittmann (15th – 19:11) & Heidi Smith (17th – 19:15).
RaynJoy Norton of Burlington-Edison defeated two-time defending champion Emily Pittis of Sehome and her time of17:58 broke the record of Sara Reiter. Pittis, however led her squad to a repeat team triumph and she was quite fine with that result. Ellie Rowan-Arnett aided the Sehome cause with her third place time of 18:32 & Ruby Watson chipped in with a sixth place time of 18:47.
Sierra Speiker of Oroville defended her crown in 1A/2B with a runaway race, which resulted in 18:20. That mark was the fastest of her four-year State career, which also included a championship as a freshman. Her ‘lowest’ finish was a second place as a sophomore, so she departs with an impressive record. Madison Ward of St. George’s was a distant second with 19:01. Erin Mullins of Cascade-Leavenworth ran 18:32 to secure a five second margin over Kacey Kemper of King’s. Hazel Carr of The Northwest School, who placed second the past two years, finished seventh in 19:23. North West Christian-Lacey took the team title with 45 points & was led by Kiersten & Anna Brooks, who placed third & fourth in 19:23 & 19:32 respectively. Lakeside won the 1A crown with 51 points & was led by the sixth & seventh place finish of Jessica Ircink (19:14) &