Ferris, North Central dominate regional race
Led by a trio of expected team title contenders, Greater Spokane League cross country teams were up to the challenge Friday at Wandermere Golf Course during the 4A-3A Eastern Regional meet.
Ferris and North Central’s boys were dominant in the 4A and 3A meets. Lewis and Clark (4A) and Mt. Spokane (3A) placed second as the boys secured four of six state team berths to next week’s championships at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Despite missing two runners, Shadle Park’s girls captured the 3A regional title and Central Valley’s girls earned a return to the State 4A meet.
The GSL had all four individual champions – Adam Thorne of Ferris and Baylee Mires from Mead, and Ben Johnston and Katie Knight from NC.
•3A boys: GSL runners swept all 10 state berths against runners from the Columbia Basin Big Nine, with NC collecting most of them on its way to earning its sixth straight state trip.
Johnston ran in front nearly wire to wire, timing a day’s-best 15 minutes, 23 seconds. Five of his teammates were among the first nine to finish. NC scored 23 points to Mt. Spokane’s 55.
Mt. Spokane’s Wildcats had three top-10 runners, led by race runner-up Allan Schroeder. Shadle’s Nathan Weitz, who placed fifth, was the other state qualifier.
“Sometimes it helps if you can be loose,” NC coach Jon Knight said of his team’s expected easy victory. “I think if anybody looked at the numbers, they’d think NC and Mt. Spokane would pull through. It was just a matter of getting the job done. The kids just ran really well.”
He was particularly pleased with Casey Adams and Alex Avila, who took third and fourth at 15:47 and 15:50, their best efforts of the year.
“It’s something they can hang their hat on,” Knight said. “That’s why we continue to do this.”
•3A girls: Shadle’s Kendra Weitz, who has run No. 1 and No. 2 for the Highlanders, and No. 6 Megan Inman were held out because of illness. Coach Bob Isitt had to put in a call to a pair of freshmen to fill in.
Still, the Highlanders defeated West Valley (Yakima) 43-53. Defending state champion Andrea Nelson and Katie Morris placed second and third behind Knight. Fast finishes by Shayle Dezellem and Chelsea Chandler left them eighth and ninth. Emily Stone placed ahead of WV-Yakima’s No. 5 finisher to secure the outcome.
“Yesterday Kendra was 6 out of 10 (on the health-o-meter) and today she was 98 percent,” Isitt said. “I figured we should make it to state. If we didn’t, I blew it. Emily really came through for us.”
Knight, also a freshman, ran like a veteran to distance herself from the field and win her initial regional title in 18:12, nearly one-half minute faster than Nelson.
“Just on the surface,” said Knight when told she looked like she raced worry-free. “I was very, very nervous. You should have seen me at lunch.”
•4A boys: Coach Mike Hadway said Ferris wanted to make a statement after an up-and-down season, and the Saxons did, placing four runners among the top nine and all of their team in the top 16 for a 32-85 win over LC’s Tigers.
Thorne, getting stronger through a lingering cold, timed 15:44 and led from the outset, bringing a tightly bunched field with him. His closing kick proved a bit much for Mead freshman Andrew Gardner, who ran 15:50.
“I’m starting to get my strength back,” Thorne said. Thorne said his goal was to stay with the pack for a mile and then make a move, something he wants to repeat at state next Saturday.
Alex Kimsey finished fifth, behind LC’s Kenji Bierig, Perry Domini was seventh and Tim Collitan ninth for the Saxons.
The Tigers got strong efforts from Derek Alcorn (11th) and Chris Ennis (13th) to secure a team berth.
•4A girls: Mires soloed to an 18:30 triumph for the Panthers, winning by 22 seconds as one of five GSL individuals to join CV to state next week.
The Bears, third in state last year, benefited from the return of Jamie Lambie, out last week with illness, to score 84 points behind Richland’s 68 and Eisenhower’s 76. They packed five scorers between 15th and 25th.
•2A: Colville, Cheney and Deer Park finished 1-2-3 in the District 7 boys race at Plantes Ferry to qualify for state. Colville junior Colton Hastings finished in 16:39 over 5,000 meters to win the individual title. Deer Park, Cheney and Riverside were 1-2-3 in qualifying for state in the girls race with freshman Sanne Holland of Cheney the top finisher in 19:16.
•2B/1B: Republic was an easy winner in the boys race followed by state qualifiers Northwest Christian, St. George’s, Davenport, Bickleton and Reardan in the District 5-7 race at Plantes Ferry. Senior Nik Michel led a 1-2-5-7-8 finish for the Tigers with a time of 16:53. Northwest Christian was tops with St. George’s and Riverside Christian also qualifying in the girls race. Sophomore Morgan Willson of Colfax was the top individual in 18:46.