PASCO — Scott Daratha knew his Mt. Spokane boys cross country team had an outside chance it could win a 3A team title at the WIAA state cross country championships on Saturday.
Only thing standing in the Wildcats way? Seattle Prep.
“(Seattle Prep was) going to have to run a bad race today, and they didn’t,” said Daratha.
Prep scored 80 points, while the Wildcats earned 123 — giving Mt. Spokane a second-place team trophy.
Still, Daratha was happy. The final coaches poll had the Wildcats ranked fourth going into Pasco.
“We lost three guys of our top five last year. We knew we had to replace those guys,” said Daratha. “The season didn’t start quite the way we wanted. We did win the (Greater Spokane League) title, and we took a loss. But that got the guys rethinking what we could do the last month.”
Junior Kade Brownell placed fourth for the Wildcats, running the 3-mile course in 15 minutes, 42.40 seconds. Teammate Parker Westermann finished sixth in 15:48.50.
“We knew with this team we had too big a spread (for time),” said Daratha. “We had guys up front running for a state title, and other guys back further. I mean, you don’t go to state win second-place trophies. That Seattle Prep team is tough.”
Two other Spokane-area athletes finished in the top 10: North Central’s Micaiah Aden finished eighth in 15:52.30, while Cheney’s Calvin Hilton was ninth in 15:53.40.
Mercer Island junior Owen Powell, whose parents lead the University of Washington track and field program, won the individual title with a time of 15:19.00.
Lewis and Clark was ranked third in the latest state coaches poll, but the Tigers finished seventh in Saturday’s team title race with 190 points.
LC junior Parker Whitmore finished 15th (16:12.70) to lead the Tigers.
Kamiakin junior Ezra Teeples broke free from the leaders over the final half-mile to easily win the individual title, covering the 3-mile course in 15 minutes, 32.90 seconds.
Michael Drick spent 20 years in Alaska coaching cross country. He also coached Valley Christian in 2018 and 2019 before his wife made him stay home during COVID. But when Valley Christian needed a coach this fall, Drick answered the call.
“I know all of these guys,” said Drick. “They’re a great group of kids.”
All they did on Saturday was bring home a state team title, scoring 77 points.
Preston Arnold was VC’s lead runner, placing eighth overall, finishing in 16:51.40. The others fell in close enough that Drick’s squad got the title.
“I had confidence in them,” he said. “My top three runners run together, and my next four run together.”
It was the first state cross country title for Valley Christian.
Pope John Paul 2 was second with 100 points. Liberty Bell junior Dexter Delaney became the first boy from his school to ever win an individual state cross country title, running to an easy victory in 15 minutes, 45.10 seconds.
The Spokane area had three placers in the top 10 — Freeman senior Barrett Poulson was seventh in 16:25.00; Riverside senior Cade Spencer placed eighth at 16:25.10; and Medical Lake junior Nakai Ornelas was ninth at 16:31.10.
Lakeside finished seventh out of 16 teams with 190 points.
Bothell’s Cedar Park Christian earned a team title with 68 points. Annie Wright junior Will Carroll led from almost the start to win the state title, crossing the finish line in 16:01.60.
Tony Belmont of West Valley was the top area finisher at 15th. The senior crossed the finish line in 16:15.40.
Shadle Park placed sixth out of 16 teams in the team standings.
Sehome took the team title with 62 points. Anacortes senior Parker Mong led almost the entire way to win the boys individual title with a time of 15:27.30.