The Westside Classic has not been around for a long time but it is a wonderful idea, that allows fans to see a plethora of talent in all divisions, as they try to qualify for State. Its brief history includes some of the state’s finest athletes and the competition has been so intense, that not even all of those runners have been able to triumph here. For the guys the winners include Mike Chinchar & Ryan Prentice, Curtis King, Kyle Boe and Izaic Yorks & Marcus Dickson, plus, of course, Shane Moskowitz, who ruled this race for three years and in two of them qualified for Foot Locker. The girls, who triumphed here include Alyssa Andrews, Priscilla Timmons, Nicole Goecke, Maureen Tremblay, Annie Dear, Allison Clark, Kenna Patrick and of course Maddie Meyers, who became a four-time State champion as well as a two-time Foot Locker qualifier. The short list of those, who came close includes Nicole Cochran, Kayla Evans, Sarah Bobbe, Nate Brennand & Conner Peloquin. Peloquin qualified for Foot Locker after trailing Shane Moskowitz here and at State..
The talent on display this Saturday is quite impressive and many young harriers have impressive resumes and the American Lake course is both challenging yet fan friendly, so it is worth the trek up or down I5 to witness, what promises to be, some great XC action. The 4A division alone will offer the opportunity to watch teams that have been ranked this year including Gig Harbor, Camas, Tahoma & Olympia plus Puyallup. The girls will feature squads that include three of the top four in the state: Camas, Bellarmine Prep & Tahoma. That alone would be worth charging admission to see and the races are free. Added to that is the fact that the 3A girls’ race will include both prairie & Peninsula. Other ranked teams, that will be on hand, include the North Kitsap girls (2A) & the Charles Wright Academy boys in 1A. Last year the 4A girls’ race saw Bellarmine Prep edge Tahoma here before Tahoma returned the compliment the following week at state and both teams look very solid again, although they will have to deal with Camas, which has moved to 4A this fall.
There is so much individual talent that the greatest fear in doing a preview is in over-looking one of those, who deserve to be included. There has to be a new champion in the 4A boys’ group, because Korey Krotzer has moved on to the collegiate level. Korey won the event the last two years & placed third behind Moskowitz & Peloquin as a sophomore. Looking to succeed him are Wolfgang Beck of Gig Harbor, who has won at Bellarmine, Danner & at Narrows. Mark Tedder of Battle Ground has scored at the Run-A-Ree, Seaside and at Albany, while Colby Gilbert of Skyview recently ran 15:19 at Concordia. Peter Kesting of Olympia has had a solid season which includes a victory at Capital. Others, who should be in the mix include Logan Carroll & Tristan Peloquin of Gig Harbor and Andrew Kaler & Andrew Duffy of Camas.
The girls’ 4A will be a loaded field with Alexa Efraimson leading the way. Alexa won the 3A race last year & this season she has looked like a Foot Locker qualifier with victories at the Run-A-Ree & Pier park as well as a second in the huge Stanford meet. Jordan McPhee of Mt. Rainer is the defending champion & has won at Fort Steilacoom this year. She is slowly rounding into form this fall & it must be remembered that she was a Foot Locker finalist last fall. Others to watch are Olympia’s Sofia Kane, who won at Capital and at the Narrows League and Alexis Fuller of Union, who was 2nd at the Run-A-Ree & 3rd at South Whidbey. Darryl Phil won at Bellarmine & the Narrows Twilight, while her BP team mate Hannah Derby is coming off her best race of the season having placed second at the Narrows. Another to watch is Alissa Pudlitzke, who was 3rd at Ft. Steilacoom & whose resume would look a great deal better, if she did not always race against her Camas team mate Efraimson. Elizabeth Oosterhout will lead Tahoma and was fiffth here last year. This season she has finished fith at New Balance and was third in the SPSL.
Time does not allow for an in-depth look at the other divisions but Nicole Goecke of Prairie is one to watch in the 3A girls’ race. She won here in 2010 and this year she has triumphed at New Balance & finished second at Capital. The 2A boys’ race will include Mohamud Abdi of Lindbergh, who is the Seamount League champion & was third at Fort Steilacoom. Reagan Colyer of North Kitsap has solid credentials with her winning at Salt Creek plus a 6th at Hole-In-The-Wall, which had a loaded field. Tom Bradley will be tough to beat in the 1A boys’ division, especially after his upset of Patrick Gibson in the Northwest Conference meet. Tom also was second at Hole-In-the Wall and third at Mt. Baker. He should be challenged by Travis Hensley of Charles Wright, who won at Hoquiam and is the Nisqually League Champion. Although somehow left off the team list The Northwest School should be running in 1A and, if so, Hazel Carr is to be watched. She placed second at State last fall and this year she won at the pre-National race in Portland & is the ECL champion as well. Yet another runner to watch, incidentally, is Sally Larson of Cedar Park Christian, who won the South Whidbey & Twilight Invitationals and claimed the Nisqually League title. Sally ran 18:22 in her third place effort at Hole-In-the Wall, where the only runners ahead of her were Amy-Eloise Neale & Katie Bianchini. She also placed second in this race last year.