Joey made his name known to Washington runners two years ago, when as a sophomore he dethroned the then reigning king of Wash HS distance running Jeff Helmer.
Many older runners had already written off any hopes of the top berth that season because of Helmers’ strong and strengthening hold on the position.
Maybe he was too young to know better, maybe he was to naive to know better. One thing was sure, when the day came he was just better. Joey won the 3200 at Pasco with a 9:03.87 nearly 4 seconds ahead of Jeff Helmer.
Jeff’s parting words to the New Kid "You’ve got a Target on Your Back Now"
This weekend Joey Bywater ran in the Mt Baker Invitational. He, as always lately, was the favorite to win. Now a senior and a seasoned runner, he has seen a lot of runners and is familiar with many of the courses.
Joey went out fast to command an early lead. Kyle King of Oak Harbor took the challenge.
He shadowed Joey thru the entire race and in the last 5 yards delivered a crowd charged sprint to moved past Joey Bywater and win the invitational
Last year Joey won the same race with a 14:53 time. Nearly 13 seconds ahead of the number 2 runner.
I asked Joey the obvious.
How did he feel about it?
How will it change how he runs the next races.
The common thread to his responses, he has learned a respect for his competition.
He will now expect every response from his competitors, needed to win any race they are in.
Joey understands the competition a little better than on Saturday morning. This years’ contenders are capable of anything in any race. There is a list of possible 1st place runners at least 25 deep. If anyone intends to do the job, it is critical that they enter every race, and run every race as if the guy behind them could become the guy in front of them.
Joey Bywater is a Senior at Lake Stevens High School.
He is a 2 time BorderClash Athlete.
He placed first in both races in 2007, his second years showing
He placed 2nd in the 2007 XC State meet, his second years showing.
His next showdown is at the Richland Invitational on 10/6/2007