It came as no surprise to North Central coaches who have been watching Kai Wilmot run. He was, after all, a State 3A placer in the 3,200 meters, and they talked of how he has been obliterating training-run records this season.
But those who hadn’t had the pleasure weren’t prepared for what they saw Saturday during the Tracy Walters Invitational meet at Audubon Park.
Wilmot buried the course record.
“You know he ran 14:24 for 5,000 meters last spring in the 19-under USTF meet in Bloomington (Ind.),” coach Jon Knight said. “They thought he was a college runner and he was only a sophomore.”
Wilmot led by so much that the race was, in effect, over by the first mile.
His time of 14 minutes, 44 seconds wiped out Andrew Gardner’s course-record 14:57. The time was 24 seconds faster than the invitational’s previous best. The runner-up, Mt. Spokane sophomore John Dressel, finished 47 seconds behind.
“Today I wanted to go for a fast time, so that kind of was the goal,” the diminutive Indians junior said. “I didn’t know it was going to be that big. I’m ready to get back to training and take another swing at it.”
Even with powers from three states, the Indians had four of the first six finishers and their eight-man total score won team honors easily, 80-127 over Kamiakin.
There was no surprise in the girls varsity race, in which Knight’s daughter Katie ran alone. She timed 17:47, 6 seconds behind last year’s effort, to beat her nearest competitor by nearly a minute.
“First at the start of the race it was like, ‘I’m nervous,’ because I haven’t raced hard without being sick since April,” Knight said, referring to her bout with mononucleosis. “It’s nerve-wracking because you don’t know how (far) your training brought you, until you do it.”
Katie said as soon as the race started she had a joyful feeling, like she was back where she belonged.
Jesuit and St. Mary’s Academy from in and around Portland went 1-2, with Coeur d’Alene, led by sophomore Josie Brown’s sixth-place sub-19:00 effort, five points out of second.
Following victory in the senior boys race, some of the first words out of Mead distance star Gardner’s mouth were, “Hey, Anna, will you go to Homecoming with me?”
Such was the ease of Gardner’s victory. Only the 85-degree heat caused him to break a sweat.
His 12:16 time became the benchmark for the newly configured 2.5-mile course at Shadle Park, but was short of the previous senior record.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Gardner said. “This was my last Highlander run. I pulled away so fast and no one followed me so I just said, ‘OK, I’ll just get a good run in.’ ”
Gardner finished 31 seconds faster than runner-up Adam Thorne of Ferris. Rocky Mountain from Montana had six of the next eight seniors to outscore Ferris 20-58.
Shadle Park’s Nicholas Hauger blew by the junior field running the day’s second-fastest time, 12:43.51.
Rocky Mountain’s girls nipped Richland for the varsity girls title, but Richland’s Lindsey Bradley was individual winner, timing 14:51.82.
Led by Lindy Jacobson and Sofia Marikis, the Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) girls finished second at the Silverwood meet at Silverwood Theme Park.
Jacobson finished the course in 19:26.7, fifth place overall. Marikis was sixth in 19:29.
Timberline took the team title. Sandpoint was seventh, Lakeland took eighth, Pullman was ninth and Ferris finished in 10th place.
Lake City took fourth place to lead the local boys teams.
The Timberwolves had two top-10 runners – Jake Finney (fifth, 15:57.6) and Kyler Little (sixth, 15:58).