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Dragons Race Past A Schools

1A/B cross country

The Powers That Be have ruled that St. George’s must run with 1A schools to qualify for the state cross country meet.

At least on Thursday, the 1A schools couldn’t run with St. George’s.

St. George’s, a Class B high school with an enrollment of less than 120, thundered the field during the boys and girls District 7-1A/B meets at soggy Hangman Valley Golf Course.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association says not enough B schools compete in cross country to justify separate district and state meets. So the Dragons are happy to pick on the larger 1A schools.

Freshman Samantha Clarke led St. George’s to a 1-2-4-6-7 showing in the girls race.

The Dragons won the boys race with four runners in the top nine, including runner-up Zach Blume, a senior. Colfax senior Hans Petersen upheld the honor of 1A runners by winning the boys title.

The girls kicked off the meet at noon, when a hard rain began to fall.

Coach Ross Thomas sent off the Dragons by reminding them they were “wild” and other teams would “wilt in the rain.”

Clarke led by nearly 20 seconds at the 1-mile mark. Her main expected competition, junior Sarah Harris of Wilbur-Creston, soon gave up second place to Dragons junior Sarah Beadling.

St. George’s sophomore Abbey Blume, who has run ahead of Beadling all year, settled into fourth ahead of Freeman freshman Laura Halverson.

Harris and Halverson joined the Dragons in qualifying for the Nov. 8 state meet at Pasco. Just one team and the top five individuals advance to the eight-team meet.

Clarke completed the 3.1 miles in 21 minutes, 18.5 seconds. Beadling ran 22:04.

“I ran cross country in seventh grade, then didn’t in eighth grade,” said Clarke, unbeaten this year against small-school runners. “I decided to do it again because I wanted to keep in shape for basketball.”

The boys caught a break on the weather, even catching a glimpse of the sun during their 1 p.m. race.

“I’m glad the rain eased up, because it can work on your mind,” said champion Petersen, who nevertheless lost his footing once and fell on a downhill corner.

Freeman junior John Russell and Petersen jockeyed for the early edge. Blume, Abbey’s brother, was utmost on Petersen’s mind.

“I’ve raced him in other years, but I had the suspicion he’s a ‘speedcourse’ kind of guy,” said Petersen, who had the best district times for freshmen (1994) and sophomores (‘95) at hilly Hangman.

With Petersen (17:32.8) well ahead, the eye-catching race was for second. Blume (17:55) passed Russell (17:56) in the final 10 meters. Russell’s older brother, Joe, was fourth in 18:21.

Three teams and the top 15 individuals advance to state. Freeman and Colfax topped four Class B schools for the right to join St. George’s in Pasco.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

Tags: prep, running