For the better part of the third Tracy Walters Invitational boys cross country race, it was difficult to determine which of five teams was in control.
On the final lap, three Ferris Saxons closed ranks with race-long leader and teammate Adam Thorne and showed why they are the No. 1-ranked 4A team in Washington and in the nation.
The quartet finished among the top 12 for a 55-72 victory over host North Central Saturday morning at Audubon Park.
Thorne put the field behind him in the second mile, timing 15 minutes, 28 seconds over the 3-mile course.
Teammates Alex Kimsey, Tim Colliton and Justin Zimmerman placed eighth through 12th, separated by 9 seconds (16:08 through 16:19).
“The top four ran really well,” Ferris coach Mike Hadway said. “We have work to do to get the five, six, seven runners up there.”
Thorne won by 9 seconds over Allan Schroeder of Mt. Spokane after establishing a big lead.
“I feel like I went out fast and slowed down the last 2 miles,” Thorne said.
“I wished they scored eight (instead of five) in the Greater Spokane league,” NC coach Jon Knight said, when asked about his defending national champion and three-time state winner’s second-place effort.
The meet also posts a 10-runner result, which scores eight. NC edged the Saxons 155-160 in that category.
“We went out a little too fast,” Knight said. “Ferris ran a much smarter race than we did.”
Kamiakin placed third and Mt. Spokane fourth.
It is no secret that Coeur d’Alene’s Kinsey Gomez is a gifted distance runner. Now the secret’s out about the potential of Shadle Park’s team.
Gomez, Idaho state cross country champion as a freshman and runner-up last year, won by 33 seconds over two-time Washington state champ Andrea Nelson of Shadle.
“I’m pleased with the way I went out and ran,” Gomez said after timing 17:57. “I wasn’t healthy last year. I’m working to get healthy and run to the best of my ability.”
Nelson was more excited about Shadle’s team prospects this year than her individual state chances. Though Shadle coach Bob Isitt tried to downplay it, the 31-60-82 romp past Richland and State 4A third-place Central Valley was an indicator of the abilities of his crew, which is ranked second in 3A preseason.
Shadle freshman Kendra Weitz clung to Nelson (they timed 18:30 and 18:34) for third place and sophomore returnee Katie Morris took fifth in 19:35.
“We’re decent,” Isitt said. “I’m real happy. We’ll see if we can get them through (the season) healthy.”