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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Noble effort prevails at end

Lake City senior Breanna Sande led the pack of A girls at the Super 1/Farragut Invitational, but she settled for second at the cross country meet when champion sprinter Becca Noble of Rogers put on a blazing charge at the finish. 
 (Tom Davenport/ / The Spokesman-Review)

Breanna Sande didn’t know Becca Noble was scheduled to race at the Super 1/Farragut Invitational cross country meet Saturday until moments before the A girls race.

It didn’t change the Lake City High senior’s strategy, but she knew the pace would be much different, at least near the race’s end.

Sande has a respectable kick for a long-distance runner. But it’s no match for the sprinter-like kick of Noble, the reigning 200- and 400-meter Washington State 4A champ from Rogers.

Noble caught Sande going up the last hill before a final downhill stretch, and it was all downhill from there for Noble as she finished the picturesque 3.1-mile course at Farragut State Park along Lake Pend Oreille in 19 minutes, 40 seconds – 11.8 seconds ahead of Sande.

In the other races contested under sun-splashed skies, Tyler Noland of Richland captured the A boys (17:13.5); sophomore Brittney Williams of Colville won her first race as she coasted by more than 20 seconds in the B girls (22:00.4); and Pawel Szafruga of Pullman had no troubles in the B boys (17:41.2).

In the chase for team titles, Coeur d’Alene (51) held off Richland (59) in the A girls; Richland (38) topped Centennial (60) of Meridian, Idaho, in the A boys; Bonners Ferry (43) cruised by Pullman (84) in the B girls; and Colville (55) held off Newport (78) in the B boys.

It was Noble’s second time to race at Farragut. Two years ago, as a sophomore in her first season in the sport, Noble finished in 21:20. She took nearly 2 minutes off that time Saturday.

“I just stayed with the (lead pack) through the first two miles, and then when we were going up the (last) hill we were going slow so I just thought I might as well go,” Noble said. “It helps to have a 400 kick at the end.”

Ninth at state cross country last year, Noble’s goal is to place in the top three this fall.

Sande had never raced against Noble.

“She came flying by me,” Sande said of Noble. “I wanted to beat Allix (Lee-Painter of Moscow). I did that at least. I knew (Noble) would be good, but I didn’t know how good. She’s really fast.”

Lee-Painter beat Sande in a season-opening meet at Post Falls. Lee-Painter was sick Saturday and she finished a distant fifth (20:33.6).

Coeur d’Alene’s sophomore-junior tandem of Anna Stone (20:19.7) and Kristin Palmer (20:24.4) finished third and fourth, respectively, to lead the Vikings.

Vikings sophomore standout Michael Armon, ranked No. 1 among 5A runners in Idaho, struggled, finishing third (17:22.2) behind Noland. Armon said he struggled with a cold this week, and sat out of practice three days hoping to be ready for Farragut.

“It wasn’t my best race ever,” Armon said. “I put some new insoles in my shoes and they messed up my hamstring and knee a little bit. I took those out on Wednesday and took a few days off. I didn’t show as well as I would have liked.”

In the B girls, Williams surprised herself, especially since she’s been trying to nurse a slightly torn muscle just above her right knee.

“I wasn’t feeling very good. I thought I was going to puke,” Williams said when she reached the last 1,200 meters. “When we started the downhill I felt pain in my leg (muscle). Then I saw someone about 100 meters behind me. So I sped up because I didn’t want her to catch me.”

Williams finished second among the sophomores at last Saturday’s Highlander meet at Shadle Park. She took 12th in the B race at Farragut as a freshman.

For the third time this season, Szafruga watched his slow-start strategy work to perfection.

“I go out slower and try to save it for the end,” Szafruga said. “It’s been working very well. In a big race it’s easy to get sucked in to the pack and just go out fast because everybody basically shoots off like a rocket at the start. I wanted to go out in 5:40 for the first mile and I was at 5:31.”

Szafruga placed 13th at state in 2003 and wants a top-three finish this year.

Sophomore Casey Hampton (22:23.9) and freshman Melody Braden (22:32.5) led Bonners Ferry to the B girls title by placing third and fourth.