photo of Gig HArbor by Angela Collins
Sunny skies & a pleasant temperature, which was neither warm nor cool greeted, fan and runners at the Westside course American Lake Veterans Hospital outside Tacoma on Saturday. The day had to come as a pleasant surprise to the teams, which drove up that morning from the Vancouver, Washington area. They were forced to drive through a thick fog and some rain almost all the way but in a prelude to things to come the dreary early morning gave way to a bright sky. It was so balmy that the Bellarmine team did not even bother to put up its tent.
Alexa Efraimson of Camas got the day rolling with a dominating performance, as she took the lead early and never let up on the pace. She ran the lower part of the course alone and by the time she had crested the last hill, which was a bit prior to the mile mark, Alexa already had established a formidable lead. Her time at that point was 4:20 and she soon sped away out of sight in a flat area that resembled a large horse-shoe. She returned about three minutes later and by that time the result was a foregone conclusion at least in terms of her placement.
Another loop of the course, which included three hills instead of the former two, which Hannah Derby firmly attested after her 4A race equaled “six hills” in the race this year, saw Alexa roll to victory in a time of 18:09. Any comparison to former years is irrelevant due to the change but the course is a minimum of twenty seconds tougher. Mackenzie Bachmeier of Yelm secured second with a very fine time of 18:48 given the course & Nicole Goecke of Prairie placed third after running most of the race by herself in 19:05, which gave her a five second margin over Austin Reiter of Camas, who earned fourth in 19:10 – just two seconds in front of her Camas team mate Megan Napier. McKenzi Bravo of Peninsula took fifth in 19:17 and Decatur’s Tori Zellerhoff took 8th (19:20). Camas won the team title with 32 points topping Peninsula’s 67 & Prairie ‘s 73.
Jordan McPhee of Mount Rainier went out for cross country this year to support her distance team mates from last spring’s track team. The runner, who is also a basketball player, has had a break-out season in which she is yet to be challenged as a harrier. She even to traveled to the distant Richland meet in search of it, yet raced alone. Yesterday in spite of a very solid field of runners, it was no different and as usual she assumed the lead early and raced most of the race by herself. Freshman Alexis Fuller, who won the Run-A-Ree- as well as a division of the Danner, and Rachel Atwood stayed with Jordan early but by the time that McPhee had crested the last hill on the first loop a little bit under the 4:20 mark in the race she was in control of the race. Fuller & Atwood were a good thirty meters back & forced to battle for second. Alexa Martin of Kent Meridian was not far behind Fuller & Atwood in fourth at that point.
Jordan, who found the hills a bit draining at the end still ran a strong 18:12 on the revamped course, while Fuller of Union seized control of second to finish alone in second in 18:44. Rachel Atwood of Auburn Riverside garnered third in 18:53, while Alexis Martin took fourth in 18:58. Elizabeth Oosterhout of Tahoma secured fifth with 19:00 & her team mate Abby Atchison followed in 19:03. Gig Harbor freshman Brenna Peloquin, who we saw win the Narrows league championship a week ago, noted her legs felt a little flat after the hills, yet she still annexed a fine seventh place time in 19:05. Rose Christen of Central Kitsap ran 19:20 to take 8th & Sara Taferre of Skyview earned ninth with 19:22. Jessica Peterson of South Kitsap rounded out the top ten with her finish of 19:23.
Top ranked Bellarmine Prep got a bit of a scare from Tahoma but still came away with the victory, as Daryl Phill placed eleventh with 19:33 and Hannah Derby was close behind her in 19:37. Derby is the defending 400 Meter champion in track and running in her first XC season and may be the most improved runner of the season given Saturday’s performance. Expect her to be a force in her new discipline in the future. BP’s Jordan Thurston was only two seconds behind Derby. Emily Tacke of Puyallup secured a trip to State with her 15th place finish of 19:40. Delaney Tiernan of Tahoma, whose total of 79 points missed by only two of upsetting Bellarmine, finished 15th in 19:42. Sabrina Sears of Evergreen came home 16th with 19:44 and was followed by Leah Kitohara of Thomas Jefferson, Sofia Kane of Olympia, Kaitlin McKinney of Union & Sophie Carroll of Central Kitsap.
The girls’ 2A was probably the most competitive race of the day at least as far as the girls concerned, but Marina Roberts still had a commanding lead at the end of her race. The Kingston runner ran 18:22 to top North Kitsap ’s Reagan Colyer by 26 seconds. Antoinette Tansley of Interlake placed third and led her team to a division victory with a mark of 18:56 and Sarah Reiter of Lindbergh earned fourth with 19:07. Lauren Wate of White River placed fifth in 19:11. The Kingston girls finished second as a team with 75: just two behind Interlake. North Kitsap with 84 points edged Lindbergh for third by five points with their total of 89.
Maddie Meyers of The Northwest School in Seattle closed out her Westside career with her fourth straight championship and hopes to keep her record perfect next week with yet another triumph there.
A savvy veteran now Meyers was well aware that the name of the game on Saturday was to earn a return trip to the State meet and with that thought in mind, Maddie went out conservatively. She was tucked into third place after a quarter of a mile and remained in protect mood even after they had crested the last hill on the first loop. The two-time Foot Locker finalist, who will make a run for a somewhat rare third trip to San Diego, picked up her pace after the mile mark as was her plan and began to open a lead over Sally Larson of Cedar park Christian, who in turn pulled away from Hazel Carr of the Northwest School.
Meyers cruised home with a time of 18:09 looking well with herself and Sally Larson claimed second with 19:05. Hazel Carr contributed a third place effort of 19:23 to aid the team in its 82 – 96 victory over King’s, which was led by Lisa Kemper, who garnered fourth in 19:31. Audrey Western of University Prep came in fifth with her 19:38 clocking.
The 4A race for the guys saw Auburn Riverside’s Kory Krotzer utilizing the same tactic as Maddie Meyers, for he had predicated his performance upon a surge after the mile mark. He led the way up the third hill with Wolfgang Beck only about five meters back and his Gig Harbor team mate Tristan Peloquin another ten meters back. That in itself presented a bit of a rarity in prep cross country for male runners, for, while it is no surprise to see a senior like Krotzer leading the way, it is another thing to find his closest pursuers being a sophomore and a freshman. Beck, however, is not only a precocious talent but he is wise beyond his years and, when he realized that Tristan “had my back” he knew that he could commit himself more fully to challenge Krotzer.
Korey went through the mile mark in 4:49 with Beck in tow and then began to press the pace. Wolfgang followed the leader for a time but was forced to give way under the relentless pressure from Krotzer. Once Korey was committed to a concerted effort he took over the race and rolled to victory in a time of 15:30, while Beck came in a solid second with a very fine time of 15:58 on the new course. Tristan Peloquin, who seemed to relish the addition of the two hills, ran a very focused race as he came in third with 16:07. The Gig Harbor cause was ably supported by the fourth place finish (16:13) of Logan Carroll, who is but a sophomore as well. Roman Kirkov of Union earned fifth with a time of 16:13 and Mark Tedder of Battleground made it two straight southeastern Washington finishes a second later. A mark of 16:17 by Kentwood’s Danny Lunder was good for seventh place & Nathan McLaughlin of Puyallup secured eighth with a time of 16:19.
Shelton’s Cody Williamson, who sadly appears to be the only representative of his school at the meet, took ninth with 16:19 & James Dagley of Tahoma earned tenth & was credited with the same essential time. Eleventh place went to Tanner Surk of Union, who ran 16:24. Olympia ‘s Peter Kesting clocked 16:24 for 12th place besting Puyallup’s Michael Ottesen by two seconds. Will Drinkwater, one of the senior leaders of the Gig harbor team, contributed a 14th place finish, while T J Grant of Bellarmine crossed the finish line 15th with a time of 16:30. Skyview’s Colby Gilbert earned 16th (16:33) and Brent Bertrand of Puyallup followed him home. Casey Peloquin, a important senior leader for Gig, chipped in an 18th place finish to add the finishing touches to an overwhelming Tide victory with a low of 39 points, which easily topped Puyallup’s 110. Dasan Telford of Kentwood placed 19th and Austin Jes of Todd Beamer (16:35) took twentieth.
Izaic Yorks of Lakes has been on a roll of late & he followed up his victory at Fort Steilacoom last Saturday with another strong effort to claim the 3A guys’ crown. He held the lead after the final hill on the first loop but Curtis King of Peninsula was gamely hanging with the leader only a bit behind. With fans yelling that King could still overtake the leader Yorks confirmed his goal to post a good time and then head for State. His final time, a best for the day of 15:22, which gave him a 33 second margin over King. After the race Izaic admitted that all season long his goal has been to defeat Anthony Armstrong of Kamiakin at State. (It should be noted, however, that Foot Locker National Finalist defeated Armstrong in Spokane). Alex Temple of Capital will join Yorks & King at Pasco after his third place effort of 16:17, while Tucker Boyd of Camas claimed fourth a second later. Fifth place went to Chris Scharer of Auburn Mountainview, who finished in 16:19. Camas won the team title over Columbia River.
Marcus Dickson of White River used the prevailing strategy of assuming the lead early and then building up on it, as he rolled to victory in the 2A division with a time of 16:05. Sam Giner of Interlake & Kody Gould of White River both made up some ground on the leader in the final stages of the race after the hills but their times of 16:18 & 16:23 respectively left them well clear of the leader. Luke Garcia of Lindbergh ran 16:28 to place fourth ahead of his team mate Mark Garcia, who ran 16:38. Interlake topped Kingston for the 2A crown.
Ruben Riordan of Charles Wright scored a victory in the 1A division with his mark of 16:19. Hap Emmons of Kings (16:33) & Daniel Nortz (16:42) of Bellevue Christian managed second & third respectively. Lynden Christian edged Kings for the team title 115 to 118.