By SCOTT SPRUILL
SARA GETTYS/Yakima Herald-Republic
West Valley\'s Stephanie Shuel, far left, stays near the frount of the lead pack of runners midway through the girls seventh flight of the Sunfair Invitational cross country meet Saturday at Franklin Park. Shuel went on to take second in the flight.
Whether it\'s the high-level of intense competition or the carnival atmosphere that pervades Franklin Park, inspiration can be found in abundance at the Sunfair Invitational.
So much so that anxiously waiting for your race can be the toughest part of the day.
But as West Valley\'s Stephanie Shuel and Davis\' Sandra Martinez warmed up for the featured event Saturday afternoon — the girls seventh and final flight — inspiration came from a much more powerful source.
After watching Lisa Olander blow apart her personal best on the 3-mile course in the previous flight, Shuel did the same while charging to second place in the finale with a time of
18 minutes, 45 seconds.
That time just slipped ahead of Olander\'s 18:47.2 as the Rams were one of only two teams with a pair of runners under 19 minutes on the grueling layout.
Meanwhile, Davis\' Shawna Schooley put up a solid sixth-place run in the sixth flight with a time of 19:22.4 — 23 seconds better than last year.
Martinez witnessed that effort and promptly ran the race of her life for seventh place in the final race, clocking 18:59.4 to wipe out her time from last year by more than a minute.
The wave of fast times — only one local girl broke 19 minutes in 2005 — was all the more impressive considering the warm weather for the 33rd edition of the Northwest\'s biggest prep cross country meet.
Sensing the conditions weren\'t ideal for a fast start, Shuel ran a thoughtful, patient race and stayed tucked inside a leading group that shared the pace for the first two miles.
But when Redmond\'s Sarah Lord stepped on the gas with a mile to go, Shuel darted into her slipstream and broke away from the pack as well. Lord held on to best Shuel, a junior who hadn\'t broken 20 minutes at Sunfair before, by two seconds.
None of the top six gave in as only six seconds separated those places.
\"At first I wanted to just get comfortable and see where everybody was at,\" Shuel said. \"I felt good and I knew I was going to get a good time, but I think I lost a little focus with a mile to go. Maybe I should have tried to go with (Lord).
\"But I\'m still very happy about this, especially the time,\" she added. \"When I saw what Lisa did I was so happy for her and it got me excited. I was really ready to go after that.\"
SARA GETTYS/Yakima Herald-Republic
Redmond\'s Sarah Lord runs to victory in the girls seventh flight at Sunfair with a time of 18:43. West Valley\'s Stephanie Shuel, center, was second.
Olander, too, ran a wise race, distributing her effort evenly through the three challenging miles. Perhaps better adapted to a flat course with her track speed, the West Valley sophomore showed her power as well placing second in the sixth flight with the day\'s fifth-best time.
\"I was hoping for 19:05 or 19:10, so I kind of surprised myself,\" she said. \"With a mile to go I was trying to decide, \'Do I go hard or just stay comfortable.\' I was excited with how the race was going so I kept pushing it.
\"This was my best race of the year.\"
Ditto for Martinez and Schooley, both Davis sophomores.
Martinez, who was nearly held out of the meet with a tender left calf muscle, lost contact with Shuel\'s leading group halfway through the final race but didn\'t let a second pursuing group catch her thanks to a strong last mile.
\"My coach (Jose Garcia) was thinking about not letting me run, but I didn\'t want to miss this,\" Martinez said while icing her leg. \"The way I was feeling I knew I was getting a big PR. It hurts a little now but I\'ll be all right.
\"When I was warming up I saw Shawna and thought, wow, she was having a great race,\" Martinez added. \"It felt like it was my turn.\"
Schooley took half the summer off from running and has been slow to round into racing shape. But Saturday\'s effort definitely brought a smile.
\"I\'m getting there,\" Schooley said of her progress. \"It\'s been a slow start to the season but today felt great. I was thinking if I ran 19:30 I would be real excited and I did better than that.\"
West Valley\'s girls, who came in ranked second in the 3A state poll, placed third among 3A teams and 18th overall. The Rams juggled their lineup, holding out two varsity runners for health reasons.
\"Our front end was pretty good,\" said WV coach Bob Allan, whose team scored 132 points with only 24 coming from the last four flights. \"We played it safe because we had some leg soreness this week. We had some ups and downs but overall it was fine. Stephanie and Lisa were just awesome.\"
33rd Sunfair Invitational Results
Top 10: Central Valley 18, Gig Harbor 23, Tahoma 35, Flathead 40, Sehome 45, Eisenhower 82, Snohomish 85, Redmond, 88, Juanita 91, Auburn Riverside 92. Locals: 22, Ellensburg; 25, East Valley; 34, Selah; 37, Sunnyside; 52, Zillah. Also competing but without the required number of runners for team scoring: Davis, Toppenish, Highland, West Valley, Klickitat, Goldendale, Granger, Naches Valley.
Flight 1 — Winner: Brandon Close (Central Valley) 17:07.3. Locals: 3, Craig Johnston (Ike) 17:21.3; 18, Adam Estela (Sel) 18:17.3; 28, Hunter Olden (WV) 18:43.0; 30, Andre Uribe (EV) 18:43.5; 36, Johnny Gonzalez (Topp) 18:57.7; 39, Jesse Garcia (Gran) 19:06.3; 41, Kyle McLean (High) 19:09.4; 50, Andy Breymeyer (NV) 19:40.3; 53, Jeff Jorgenson (Ellen) 19:53.7; 54, Gilberto Villalobos (Sun) 19:56.5; 57, Johnny Barnes (Zill) 20:17.5; 62, Jose Martinez (Klick) 22:12.2.
Flight 2 — Winner: Herschel Sanchey (Klickitat) 16:52.0. Locals: 10, Wyatt Marchand (Ike) 17:44.1; 15, Alan Orthmann (Ellen) 17:50.7; 27, Levi Garcia (Sel) 18:27.7; 29, Asa Israel (Gold) 18:36.2; 31, Nick Washburn (EV) 18:37.5; 52, Peter Miliczky (Zill) 19:51.6; 54, Matt Omlin (Sun) 19:56.1.
Flight 3 — Winner: Nathan Damiano (Central Valley) 16:41.3. Locals: 4, E.J. Silvers (Dav) 17:00.9; 8, Ryan Chapman (Ike) 17:16.9; 21, Tim Kruse (WV) 17:57.1; 22, Joey Jones (Ellen) 17:57.3; 34, Nate Lynch (Sel) 18:22.5; 35, Juan Gonzalez (Sun) 18:23.7; 42, Doug Chartier (EV) 18:38.9; 50, Jefferson Stancliffe (Topp) 19:01.8; 55, Javier Galindo (Zill) 19:33.3.
Flight 4 — Winner: Sam Wegman (Bishop Blanchet) 16:36.8. Locals: 8, Jacob Rogers (Sun) 17:11.3; 17, Blake Thomas (Ike) 17:36.8; 27, Kevin Aubol (Ellen) 17:56.8; 34, Ryley Hausken (WV) 18:10.2; 38, Todd Heether (EV) 18:21.1; 40, T.J. Hesselgesser (Sel) 18:25.2; 56, Cody Dunbar (Zill) 20:01.6.
Flight 5 — Winner: Jayson Taylor (Central Valley) 16:18.7. Locals: 2, Cody VanDeBrake (Ike) 16:21.7; 7, Birkin Owart (Ellen) 16:59.8; 22, Bobby Lee Pottenger (EV) 17:35.6; 24, Jordan Esqueda (Sun) 17:38.9; 30, James Currell (Sel) 17:50.8; 53, Blake Bergener (Zill) 19:08.9.
Flight 6 — Winner: Tylor Thatcher (Central Valley) 15:44.3. Locals: 16, Joey Barela (Ike) 16:58.5; 24, Kellen Hopkins (EV) 17:09.4; 35, Matt Nodine (Ellen) 17:26.9; 42, Sterling Scott (Sun) 17:41.7; 43, Oscar Martinez (Sel) 17:47.4.
Flight 7 — Top 5: Jake Riley (Sehome) 15:26.7; Jonathan Lafler (Tahoma) 15:33.2; Matt Frerker (Skyline) 15:36.1; Seth Grossman (Flathead) 15:46.5; Williams Charlie (Gig Harbor) 15:47.2. Locals: 11, Graham Vaux (Dav) 16:04.7; 21, Jeff Knutson (EV) 16:30.4; 34, Isak Bergman (Ellen) 16:59.2; 36, Zach Liedtke (Ike) 17:01.7; 47, Steven Schramm (Sel) 17:38.0.
Top 10: Snohomish 27, Gig Harbor 32, Tahoma 63, Eastlake 65, Redmond 66, Sehome 70, Auburn Riverside 73, Mead 73, Richland 92, Marysville 106. Locals: 18, West Valley 132; 28, Eisenhower 175; 29, Toppenish 179; 34, Selah 216; 37, Zillah 230; 38, East Valley 242. Also competing but without required number of runners for team scoring: Davis, Sunnyside, Ellensburg, Highland.
Flight 1 — Winner: Lindsey Hansen (Tahoma) 20:54.2. Locals: 11, Rachel Chism (High) 21:54.6; 24, Norma Melchor (Dav) 22:40.9; 31, Erin Olander (WV) 23:46.6; 34, Tiffany Broderson (T) 24:29.3; 35, Jennifer Green (Z) 24:30.0; 39, Chantel Scott (EV) 24:53.1; 43, Ashley Anaya (Se) 25:58.6; 45, Kirsten Sheffield (Eis) 26:11.0.
Flight 2 — Winner: Sahar Bala (Sno) 20:48.7. Locals: 16, Ciara Connally (Dav) 22:11.4; 22, Harper Miller-Rubin (Ell) 22:24.7; 32, Wendy Wiest (Eis) 23:06.2; 34, Nyna Nelson (Z) 23:13.2; 40, Felicia Valdez (T) 23:56.9; 42, Brittany Brese (Se) 24:07.3; 43, Chelsey Ganuelas (EV) 24:34.4.
Flight 3 — Winner: Janie Dwyer (Eastlake) 20:11.2. Locals: 2, Hannah Kaluzny (Davis) 20:23.4; 24, Anna Bazan (T) 22:14.7; 36, Emily Mitch (Eis) 23:13.4; 39, Natalie Idler (Ell) 23:21.6; 44, Claudia Figueroa (Se) 24:01.2; 46, Rachel Torrez (Z) 24:10.0; 49, Katie Wilson (EV) 24:44.1.
Flight 4 — Winner: Rebecca Kits (Abbotsford) 20:21.4. Locals: 6, Jennifer Farley (T) 20:38.2; 13, Alejandra Borunda (WV) 21:02.7; 14, Rachel Southwick (Eis) 21:09.2; 37, Korie Duce (Z) 22:45.7; 40, Kalica Chase (EV) 23:30.0; 41, Sara Garcia (Se) 23:35.1.
Flight 5 — Winner: Ruby Roberts (North Kitsap) 19:20.0. Locals: 9, Rachael Johnson (WV) 20:27.4; 14, Jessica Montoya (Eis) 20:35.3; 21, Brittany Messmore (Su) 20:55.9; 30, Jenna Winterfeld (Se) 21:50.9; 35, Bayli Ziegler (Z) 22:12.6; 45, Shealyn Silvas (EV) 23:39.5.
Flight 6 — Winner: Katherine Digby (Vancouver, B.C.) 18:35.0. Locals: 2, Lisa Olander (WV) 18:47.2; 6, Shawna Schooley (Dav) 19:22.4; 34, Hilary Freund (Eis) 21:10.4; 41, Krista Garcia (Se) 22:15.9.
Flight 7 — Top 5: 1, Sarah Lord (Redmond) 18:43.1; 2, Stephanie Shuel (WV) 18:45.0; 3, Justine Johnson (Oak Bay, B.C.) 18:47.1; 4, Amanda Andrews (GH) 18:47.7; 5, Andrea Nelson (Shadle Park) 18:48.7. Locals: 7, Sandra Martinez (Dav) 18:59.4; 21, Stacey Kobes (T) 20:09.3; 25, Neola Putnam (Goldendale) 20:21.5; 26, Karisma Martinez (Se) 20:26.4; 33, Melissa Jeffery (EV) 20:52.1; 39, Ann McCarthy (Eis) 21:53.6.