Photo by Toni L. Bailey/The Olympian
Capital's Manning takes 2nd
More than 1,000 runners compete in Capital Invitational
BY GAIL WOOD
OLYMPIA -- Graydon Manning's high school running career has been a mix of hurrahs and injuries.
The Capital senior endured a broken hip two years ago, costing him his sophomore season. Last spring, an enflamed Achilles tendon limited his training going into track, yet he still reached state.
On Saturday, a healthy Manning stuck to the heels of speedy Charlie Williams of Gig Harbor, only to drop off in the closing lap to place second at the Capital Invitational, a 30-school cross country meet that drew 1,008 runners.
"Charlie is the man," Manning said. "I knew who he was. My strategy was to stay with him and go hard on the downhills."
But Williams, who placed third at state in the 1,600 meters in the spring, matched Manning's surge and won the senior boys race in 11:41 for the 2.23-mile course. Manning finished in 11:59, 22 seconds faster than his time last year and the meet's 22nd-fastest time.
"I thought Charlie would sit on me and make me set the pace," said Manning, who kept a 5:22 mile pace. "Then I thought he'd try to outkick me. But he took the lead from the start."
With Williams' win, Gig Harbor won three of the four boys races at the Capital Invite, which runs races for freshmen through seniors for both boys and girls.
Jesuit won two of the four girls races.
Northwest Christian's Joscelyn Minton led the girls junior race early but couldn't hold off Jesuit's Adrianne McGuirk, who won in 14:13.
Minton finished second in 14:27, showing her promise in just her second year of cross country.
"I didn't like running long distance," Minton said. "My track coach wanted me to try cross country last year. I'm glad I did."
Minton, who went undefeated in league meets her sophomore year, set a school record Saturday.
"My goal was to finish in the top three," Minton said. "I wasn't really shooting for a time."
Capital has six girls back from last year's team that placed eighth at state.
Capital's Katie Blue placed fifth in the senior race, and teammate Bailey Campbell was seventh.
"We don't know who our top runner is going to be because we've got four girls running up there," said Kevin Wright, who is beginning his eighth year as the Capital girls coach. "Clearly, this is the deepest team I've had."
Tumwater sophomore Nathan Duray didn't loose any ground on a long incline going into the final lap of the boys sophomore race and finished third with a time of 12:46, 33 seconds behind winner Blake Cowen of Auburn Riverside.
"The hill snuck up on me," Duray said. "I didn't think it was that big. It's bigger when you're running hard."
Capital's Max Schade finished two seconds behind Duray for fourth.
Olympia freshman Clare Kane wasn't sure if she was going to turn out for soccer or cross country. Bears coach Cris Violette convinced her to give cross country a try.
Kane proved to herself that was a good decision by placing second in the girls freshman race with a time of 15:57, 34 seconds behind Gig Harbor's Chrisy Sipes.
Kane's goal before the race was simple.
"I just didn't want to get lost," she said with a smile. "It was my first high school race. I was so nervous I almost cried."
Violette said to Kane, "It was a great race. Now, the challenge is to go out and get better. You don't want to run your best race today."
Capital coach Jerry Miller started the meet 16 years ago as a temporary replacement for the Black Hills Jamboree. The meet has become a state favorite, drawing teams from as far away as Hanford and Albany, Ore.
The Hanford girls team stayed in Miller's home Friday night. The boys team stayed in the Jefferson Middle School's gym.
"It's a great way for the young runners to break into the season," Miller said. "The freshmen don't have to line up against the seniors in their first race.
Jordan McNamara of Auburn holds the boys meet record with a time of 11:29 set in 2004. Jessie McLaughlin of Olympia holds the girls meet with a 14:14 set in 2001.