TJ\'s girls cross-country team ends Tahoma\'s long run

By Seattle Times staff

AUBURN — Thomas Jefferson\'s girls cross-country team extended a winning streak Wednesday, and in the process ended Tahoma of Maple Valley\'s longer run of dual-meet success.

The Raiders, led by individual winner Kenna Patrick, had four of the top five finishers on their 3.1-mile home course and ran their streak to 49 consecutive wins over dual-meet opponents. They\'re unbeaten since 2001.

\"Obviously we\'re pretty happy with it [beating Tahoma],\" Thomas Jefferson coach Paul Ruston said. \"It\'s more of a relief than anything.\"

Tahoma had defeated 89 consecutive opponents, a run that dated to 1996.

Patrick, two-time SPSL champion with back-to-back top-10 finishes at state, broke her own course record with a time of 18 minutes, 44.7 seconds. The previous best was 18:52.3.

Teammate Vanessa Bennum (19:25) was second and Tahoma\'s Hannah Mittelstaedt (19:30.7) took third.

Jefferson\'s Cassidy Robey (19:36.3) was fourth, and impressed Ruston.

\"Our third girl had the most improvement of any of our girls,\" the coach said. \"She had a really strong performance.\"

Robey\'s previous best time on the course was 20:57.

Tahoma, ranked fifth in Class 4A by the state coaches association, has won 10 consecutive SPSL North championships.

Second-ranked Jefferson won the past five SPSL South titles.

The teams avoided meeting each other in dual meets because they were in separate SPSL divisions. This year, because of a statewide realignment, Jefferson moved to the North.