PASCO - Kara Sporrong struggled to grasp the finality of it all.
\"I can\'t believe it\'s done, but I guess I\'m moving on to creating new memories in college,\" said Sporrong, a senior on the Snohomish High School girls cross country team.
Sporrong helped the Panthers win the fourth-place Class 4A trophy Saturday at the state championships at Sun Willows Golf Course.
Fourth place is a respectable showing, but the third-ranked Panthers (Washington State Cross Country Coaches Poll) always aim to be the best. And Sporrong, Snohomish\'s senior co-captain, certainly didn\'t envision capping her final prep cross country season with a 22nd-place finish.
But that was the result for Sporrong, who placed 11th as a freshman and seventh as a sophomore before a stress fracture slowed her down last year. The District 1 champion completed the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 44 seconds on Saturday, 1:31 off the pace of winner Kenna Patrick of Thomas Jefferson (18:13). Sporrong finished one second behind Snohomish teammate Ellie Bonner (21st, 19:43), a junior.
\"I was definitely disappointed,\" Sporrong said. \"It was not the way I wanted to go out but I guess ... it happened. I can\'t take it back.\"
\"I wasn\'t ready to race,\" she added. \"I couldn\'t get myself to be competitive.\"
But one race certainly doesn\'t sum up a career or a season, said Sporrong, who plans to run for Northern Arizona University or the University of Georgia next year. \"It\'s been a long road. Like I told the girls, you have to look at everything we\'ve done. You can\'t just look at this meet and be disappointed.\"
\"We won\'t base this season on this race at all,\" said Bonner, noting that she and Sporrong finished 1-2 two weeks ago at the Wesco North championships and Sporrong\'s decisive district-meet victory last weekend highlighted Snohomish\'s team championship.
Snohomish fell short of the team title on Saturday. The Panthers scored 142 points to finish behind top-ranked champion Gig Harbor (81), Thomas Jefferson (93) and Eastlake (110). It\'s Gig Harbor\'s second straight title.
\"I was hoping I could say, \'What a difference a year makes,\' but it was almost exactly like last year,\" said Snohomish coach Dan Parker, whose team also was fourth in 2005.
\"Not a whole lot changed. We did OK (but) not what we wanted,\" Parker said.
Sporrong is still a few weeks from peaking because of the stress fracture that delayed her training, Parker said. Another factor: Snohomish was without injured sophomore Alanna Feltner, who was the team\'s No. 3 runner at state last year.
Other top area runners were Bothell\'s Paige Pattilo (eighth, 19:04), Bailey Granstrom of Lake Stevens (28th, 19:54) and Monroe\'s Lyndy Davis (30th, 19:56).
Freshman Kaylie Kimmell (38th, 20:08) helped Marysville-Pilchuck place 10th.
Snohomish\'s frustration with its performance turned to fear for a fallen teammate when sophomore Kristi Fairbanks collapsed near the finish line and again after she completed the race. Teammates, coaches and event workers rushed to help Fairbanks, who after lying down for several minutes was carried to a nearby tent. She recovered from what Parker said was oxygen depravation.
\"I\'m fine,\" Fairbanks said later. She said she started feeling dizzy with about a half-mile to go and then her legs gave out about 20 yards from the finish line. \"I tried to get up like two or three times and I heard somebody say, \'Just stay down for a second,\'\" said Fairbanks, who was helped to the finish line by another runner.
3A girls race
Meadowdale placed 13th out of 16 teams in its first trip to state since 1977. Junior Eryn Jones led the Mavericks by placing 57th in 20:59.
Bronwyn Crossman won the race in 18:44 to help launch Squalicum to its third team championship in four years.
Everett\'s Katie Gebert took 46th (20:41).