A lot of excited energy is building up in the final preparations for tomorrow\'s 4A KingCo Championship meet. And finally, someone else not named Zack will be crowned the individual champion in the 11-team race for the first time in two seasons.
The 4A boys race is shaping up to be a close contest in 2006, very different than the past two seasons. Former Ballard runner, Zack Gussin, the 2004 and 2005 KingCo champ has graduated and is now running at the University of Washington. His main KingCo rival, Matt Frerker, who was a close second both of those years, will be in a different KingCo battle this year in his senior season. His Skyline Spartans dropped down to the 3A classification and won\'t be in West Seattle tomorrow.
As comforting as that sounds to some of the runners, the battle for the individual crown is likely to be up a showdown. Five of the Top 10 KingCo placers from last year will toe the line tomorrow to duke it out for individual honors. Those runners are: Doug Holt of Woodinville (3rd, 15:31 at the \'05 KingCo race); Yonas Berhe of Roosevelt (5th, 15:54); Juanita\'s David McCary (6th, 15:54) and Jeremy Rasor (8th, 15:57) and Redmond\'s Anthony Ellis (7th, 15:55).
Those likely to join them in the battle will be Juanita\'s Spencer Nietmann (13th, 16:11); Garfield\'s Kris Brown (15th, 16:17); Woodinville\'s Etienne Aridj (17th, 16:23); Bothell\'s Matt Brown (19th, 16:30); Lake Washington\'s Warner Smidt (23rd, 16:40); Redmond\'s Aiden Irish (26th, 16:42). Also, look for Bothell\'s Scott Rooen, Ballard\'s Alex Barkley, Redmond\'s Matt Stearns, Doug Holt\'s cousin, Nick, from rival Inglemoor and Yonas Berhe\'s little brother, Abraham to run well too. All were instrumental throughout the regular season posting times at or around the sub-17:00 mark at their respective races.
The top 5 teams and top 25 individuals from KingCo will advance to a newly aligned district race on Oct. 28th. This year, the KingCo league has partnered up with the Greater St. Helen\'s league in south Washington. The top 3 teams from the GSHL will travel up to race for a berth to the state meet. The top 4 teams and top 20 individuals from the district race will travel to Pasco on November 4th.
When the gun finally goes off tomorrow at Lincoln Park, look for a strong showing by the Rebel \"pack\" of Juanita and the Falcons of Woodinville to clash for supremacy in the team competition. Roosevelt, Redmond and Bothell will challenge as well for the team title and berths to district.
In the girls race, it will be hard to miss a stream of gold and white jerseys throughout the race as Redmond and Eastlake will fight for the outright KingCo meet title.
Redmond narrowly defeated Eastlake last week in the final regular season, nipping the Wolves by a point, led by Sarah Lord\'s 18:08 course record at Grasslawn Park in Redmond. Tomorrow, however, not only will Sarah and her teammates be looking out for the girls in white and crimson but also for Bothell\'s Paige Patillo.
Patillo, a senior, was 2nd last year at KingCo (17:59) and is looking for her first individual KingCo title. She followed that performance with a 4th place finish at the 2005 4A state meet in 18:24. She is one of the top performers in the state and one to watch out for at Pasco next month.
Lord was 10th at state last year in 19:00 as a freshman. This season she snagged a big win in the varsity #1 flight at Yakima\'s Sunfair Invitational and a 3rd place showing at the South Whidbey Invite earlier in the season. Fellow Mustang, freshman Devin McMahon will likely be nearby in the chute tomorrow as well as sophomore Jillian Jaccard and junior Chelsea Smith.
Eastlake\'s freshman trio of Chelsea Orr, Erin Blodnick and Sara Fester will lead their young team and try to lasso the Mustangs and avenge last week\'s defeat. Ashley Horton and Janie Dwyer round out the Wolves close-knit freshman pack.
Other notables to look out for in the girls race are Ballard\'s Bridget Berg, Roosevelt\'s Sadie Mohler and Mahal Hamad, Woodinville\'s Kelsey Longmuir and Kayla Schick, and Inglemoor\'s Rachel Williamson.