PASCO – For the first time since 1988, the Mead cross country girls team can call itself state champion.
On a windy but clear Saturday, the Mead girls capped off an incredible year of running at the Sun Willows Golf Coursey, scoring 114 points to claim the State 3A championship .
“Of all the years I’ve coached, this is truly a deserving group,” Mead girls coach Dori Whitford. “They have worked harder than anybody I’ve ever seen, and they are a class act about it.”
The Panthers had two runners claim podium spots as senior Alanna Parker placed ninth overall, finishing in 18 minutes, 56.20 seconds for the 5,000-meter race. Sophomore Charlotte Cullen, who snagged the last spot on the podium, finished 20th in 19:23.30.
“I am so happy for my team, and I think we all had great races,” Cullen said. “It felt amazing to be up there as an individual, but it was really my team that put in the effort to be up there together.”
Three other Mead girls finished in the top 60: Raegen Borg (22nd, 19:28.60), Alexis Parker (37th, 19:48.10) and Sophia Ferraro (59th, 20:09.10). The Panthers were the only team to have five runners finish within the top 60.
Mead’s boys came away with a third-place finish, scoring 158 points to bring home their first team trophy in over a decade.
“It’s fun to have a group of boys who love running for each other and come out and do the work that we ask them to do,” Mead boys coach Austin Stuchell said. “Third place was a big goal for us and it was cool to see them step up because they wanted to be and they were hungry for it.”
Senior Brycen Gardner placed eighth overall in 16:07.90 to lead all Panthers runners.
“I’m proud of this team and all we have done this year,” Gardner said. “Everyone competes regardless the circumstances, so it was a great way to end the season.”
North Central also earned a 3A boys team trophy, placing fourth with 160 points. Senior Jonah Aden was top finisher for th the Wolfpack, running 16:18.60 to place 13th.
Riverside senior Distel wins State 1A championship
The journey back to full health hasn’t been an easy one for Jamar Distel, but the Riverside senior can now call himself a state champion after the 1A boys race, winning the individual title in a 1A state course-record time of 15:00.40.
Like any of his races this season, it was another solo effort from the start for Distel . Closing his first mile at 4:38.7, he was already 16 seconds ahead of the field. By the end, he finished 76 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
“It’s all a mental game,” Distel said. “It may not help my racing tactics, but it definitely helps upstairs, which is far more important than any sort of racing tactic.”
For three years, Distel had been dealing with a hip injury, forcing him to take a step back in his training. During that time, he changed his running mechanics while seeing physical therapy and doing strengthening work on his hip to ensure he would get back to his healthy self.
“It sounds cliché, but it’s really the motto of not giving up,” Distel said. “I’ll have those setbacks and injuries, but as long as I never give up, nothing is impossible. Everyone says it and it’s the truest thing I’ve have ever.”
The Lakeside boys also took care of business, winning their third consecutive State 1A title, scoring 111 points to beat out King’s, which scored 136.
“I told the guys before the race, ‘You guys are going to run so fast,’ ” Lakeside coach Steve Olsen said. “We had tapered for this week, and it made a huge difference between last week and this week.”
Junior Hayden Blank led the Eagles, placing seventh in 16:47.90.
“It’s a hard course, but the adrenaline of state just really makes it an easy race when it comes down to it,” Blank said.
Lakeside senior Colby Splichal placed 13th in 17:18.80.
Medical Lake finished fourth with 158 points. Cardinals junior Reid Headrick finished third in 16:16.70.
The Lewis and Clark girls are coming home with a second-place trophy. Senior Audrey Thronson (18:27.10) placed fourth and senior Alice Groza (19:12.80) finsihed 15th. Eastlake took the title with 64 points.
LC junior Evan Bruce finished eighth in 16:09.30 in the boys race.
In her first state appearance, East Valley sophomore Logan Hofstee finished as runner-up in the girls 2A, finishing in 18:18.70. Teammate junior Abby Crossley placed 11th in 19:33.40.
West Valley’s Kaitlyn Adamson placed 10th in 19:17.50.
The Medical Lake girls (83 points) finished second behind the No. 1-ranked Seton Catholic, with scored 52 points. Senior Grace Grubaugh led the Cardinals, placing 21st in 20:25.10.
Lakeside and Freeman each had two runners finish in the top 16. Senior Matise Mulch (third, 19:13.90) and junior Sadie Meyring (eightth, 19:33.10) were the top runners for Lakeside. Junior Lily Jones (10th, 19:44.80) and senior Dixie Sefton (14th, 20:00.50) led Freeman.
Both St. George’s boys and girls came away with a team trophy. The boys took fourth, scoring 115 points, led by freshman Shawn Jones’ 13th-place run of 17:28.20. The girls were third, scoring 89 points, also led by a freshman in Josie McLaughlin, who finished fourth in 19:59.60.
Asotin’s Chloe Overberg won the girls individual title in 18:36.
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