So near and yet so far.
The past two seasons, Central Valley’s boys cross country team compiled 5-8 Greater Spokane League seasons.
But the Bears entered Wednesday’s league start with higher aspirations. Nothing diminished them despite a 1-2 start.
CV lost 26-29 to 4A state perennial Mt. Spokane and 27-28 to last year’s state 3A runner-up North Central. It wasn’t exactly what coach John Preston envisioned, although he figured the meet would be that close.
“It was what I thought it would be,” Preston said of the closeness of the meet. I thought it would be within a point or two with all those schools. I thought we could get them.”
Obviously, he added, with just one and three points separating the Bears from a share of first place, his thoughts weren’t out of whack. But he acknowledged that the team has some work to do.
“We need to get our second and third guys up there,” he said. “That’s where both teams kind of got us.”
CV junior Sean Coyle, second overall in the 28-runner race, finished ahead of Mt. Spokane’s and NC’s No. 1 runners.
Sophomore Jayson Taylor and senior Alex Blackburn placed ninth and 10th, but the other schools had three scorers in between Coyle and them.
“It’s hard to come back from that,” said Preston.
Still, the results were encouraging. CV has a chance for a winning overall record and to finish in the top five in league for the first time since a 4-4 season in 1993.
And though only three teams from the Eastern Regional qualify for state, the Bears are close enough to perhaps give Mt. Spokane a run for it.
“Those were two tough schools,” said Preston. “NC’s ranked third in 3A, and Mt. Spokane, in my opinion, is the third best 4A team in state.”
Fourth-year coach Preston continues to raise the bar.
East Valley standout Nick Atwood won the race in 15 minutes, 54 seconds – 19 seconds faster that Coyle, though the Bears beat EV 22-37.
In the girls’ race, CV and EV both lost to Mt. Spokane and North Central, and the Bears beat the Knights 22-33. Anna Layman, back from injury, was second in that race at 19:14 for Central Valley, and freshmen Tris Kline and Brianna Barsten were ninth and 10th.
“We had a really good day,” said coach Dennis McGuire, noting that his No. 5 runner has breathing difficulties and was a nonfactor.
EV’s Jo E. Mayer finished third overall in a 19:28 for the improving Knights, who lost to NC by nine points and Mt. Spokane by five.
University’s girls, among the league favorites, and young, and the improving boys both went 2-1, both losing to Mead, but beating Shadle Park and Cheney.
Bill McElroy was 10th in his race, finishing behind all seven runners of Mead’s juggernaut and behind two Highlanders. But the Titan pack was able to withstand that 1-2 deficit.
The girls lost to Mead 24-32 but escaped Shadle Park and won by virtue of a faster sixth runner after being tied by host Cheney. Freshman Stevie Gildehaus was fifth overall and Leslie Berkseth placed eighth.
West Valley’s boys went 2-1, losing only to league favorite Ferris at Plantes Ferry Park. Marc Smith, Richard Keroack and Josh Gardner finished sixth through eighth, separated by just nine seconds.
Larsen Agee was third, freshman Krystal Hughes sixth and Camille Mackey eighth in the girls’ race, WV going 1-2 and narrowly losing to Gonzaga Prep.
CV soccer knocks off Mead
With Wednesday’s 2-0 girls soccer win over Mead, Central Valley thrust itself into the role of Greater Spokane League contender.
Jenny McKinsey scored twice for the Bears, 28 minutes into the match and with two minutes remaining to keep CV one of six unbeaten league teams.
Sophomore keeper Mallory Flesher had nine saves in the well-played defensive contest.
The Bears shared first place after two matches heading into Friday’s contest against Shadle Park.
University is also 2-0 following a 7-0 win over Rogers with youngsters like Libby Amsbaugh – two goals and an assist – doing the damage while regulars rested.
East Valley (2-0) also won 7-0 over Clarkston. Lindsey Moles had two goals and an assist, and Jacie White added a pair of goals. Moles leads the team this year with five goals.
The Knights played winless West Valley on Friday. The Eagles lost 5-1 to unbeaten Lewis and Clark, Allie Allen with the second-half score that pared an early deficit to 2-1 with 26 minutes left in the match.
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