Seldom are two cross country races run at the same site as compelling as those between host Central Valley and Mt. Spokane’s girls and boys on Wednesday.
The girls’ outcome among CV, Mt. Spokane and Gonzaga Prep likely determined the Greater Spokane League’s top-three pecking order.
CV and Mt. Spokane clawed and scratched to a 28-all standoff, but CV’s win was determined by the highest-placing sixth runner. G-Prep, with a 1-2 finish by Cyra Carlson and Ann Maloney, was not far behind.
The boys race that followed was won by Mt. Spokane 27-28 after many hours of scrutinizing and refiguring the outcome. For the longest time after the meet, CV thought it had won.
Central Valley’s girls ran without their top two runners and Mt. Spokane without its No. 1, which only enhanced the thrill of the chase.
Throughout the race a girl from each team shadowed the other until the final charge to the finish that included Maloney’s sprint past CV’s Sarah White into second. The pair and Mt. Spokane’s Shawnee Konrad were separated by a little more than 1 second.
Three other Mt. Spokane Wildcats finished sixth through eighth, but the Bears put the next four runners through the gate, including team sixth-placer Courtney Owens, whose effort secured their team triumph.
The result left coaches Dennis McGuire and Andy Sonneland commiserating afterward, neither sure of the final outcome.
“I thought this was one of the best races CV has ever run,” the Bears’ McGuire said, noting that all his girls ran improved times.
“It was an exciting race,” Sonneland said. “We knew we had to get our three and four right up with their second runner and we did that. But there was too big a gap between (them and) our fifth runner.”
Mt. Spokane edged the Bullpups 26-30 and CV topped G-Prep 26-34, but even in defeat Bullpups coach Stephen Manfred wasn’t disappointed.
“It was fun,” he said. “The girls gave it everything they had.”
Mt. Spokane’s John Dressel was expected to win the boys race and he did by a comfortable 17-plus seconds.
But the final team margin was anything but comfortable, and Bears coach Kieran Mahoney initially thought he had won.
“We knew (Mt. Spokane) was going to come after us,” Mahoney said at the time, noting the target on his defending state champions’ back. “They’re tough guys. We always know we’re going to get other people’s best races.”
CV placed Corey Hunter (16:16) right behind Dressel. The Bears initially thought that Briton Demars (16:37) had placed fourth, but his spot was later dropped to fifth, behind Mt. Spokane’s Jacob Vandenberg (16:19), affecting the team outcome.
“We wanted to give it a good race, give a good honest effort,” Dressel said. “They came out and battled, too, so it was good.”
Also in the GSL, Mead’s boys and Lewis and Clark’s girls won a three-way meet at Shadle Park. Shadle’s Nicholas Hauger (15:27) and LC’s Gracie Ledwith (17:58) were champions. … North Central’s boys and girls swept Rogers at Comstock Park. NC’s Tanner Anderson (15:31) and Reana Risinger (19:29) were champs. … Also at Comstock, University’s boys and Ferris’ girls won a dual meet. Peter Helman (15:45) and Anisa Allaet (19:12) of Ferris were champs.
• Host Deer Park swept West Valley in a Great Northern League meet. WV’s McCall Skay broke the girls course record in 18:57. WV’s Skylar (16:16) won the boys race. … Champion Scott Kopczynski (15:59) led East Valley’s boys to wins over host Colville and Clarkston. EV’s girls defeated Clarkston, led by champion Brittany Aquino (20:20).