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Schools fare well at state cross country
PASCO — The North Kitsap School District saw four cross country teams, in their entirety, qualify for and compete at the state tournament last weekend.
This was the first time all NKSD high school boys and girls varsity cross country squads qualified for state.
Out of 16 teams, the 3A North Kitsap Vikings girls placed fourth and the boys finished seventh.
On the 2A side of the competition the Kingston Buccaneers boys team, which did not make it to state last year, finished 14th and the girls placed seventh.
The girls teams had three runners finish in the top 15 and the boys ran their hearts out on a “fast course,” under a drizzly, cloudy sky.
Vikings assistant coach Jonathan Erickson said the season goal was to get to state and then “it’s just about bragging rights.”
“They were able to work really hard and stay focused all season,” Erickson said. “They were so consistent throughout the season and it’s nice to see the consistency maintained at state. We’re really proud of them. You can’t ask any more of them than that.”
This year brought a few hefty changes for the Vikings. Long-time head coach Lee Hodin moved out of the area and the Vikings entered a new league, running against different opponents and on brand new courses. Erickson said it took some time for the approximate 60 athletes and new coaching staff to trust and feel comfortable with one another. But after a few bumps all the kinks were worked out and the Vikes had an outstanding season, as evidenced by both teams capturing league titles.
He attributes the smooth and successful transition to the “phenomenal leadership” of the four team captains, Joel Brose, Lars Blazina, Hilary Leonard and Shawna Williams.
He said several times throughout the season the coaches and captains would pow wow to discuss and smooth out glitches.
“I’ve been on a lot of teams and coached other places and those guys (captains) are the best I’ve seen in terms of leadership,” Erickson said. “But they all came together, worked with us and fought hard and that’s the best we could hope for.”
Annelise Weinmann led the Vikings’ finishes with an 11th place finish and a time of 19 minutes, 4 seconds .
Erickson said Weinmann ran really well and placed higher than last year, and several others ran faster times at state than the previous year.
“All were pretty pleased with the results,” he said.
Just like the Vikings, the Bucs’ team goals were to qualify for state, which they did by placing in the top three at districts.
Head coach Roger Coffman said the boys worked incredibly hard as a team and focused each and every day on improvement. He said it was “remarkable” the boys placed 14th at state.
“As a coach I’m really proud of their independent efforts,” he said.
The lady Buccaneers competed with gusto, as they did all season, and two athletes ran away with top 10 finishes. Junior captain Ruby Roberts placed second with a time of 18:34 in the 5,000 meter trailing first place finisher Allison Cutting of Sequim by nine seconds. Coffman said Roberts ran nearly five seconds faster at state this year.
Ruby’s younger sister freshman Marina Roberts finished an impressive seventh with a time of 18:55.
The Roberts sisters qualified for the elite Border Clash race, which is a competition between Washington’s and Oregon’s top 40 runners on Nov. 23 in Portland, Ore.
“It’s quite remarkable about Marina,” Coffman said. “It’s absolutely amazing that a freshman girl gets to go to that race.”
Individual performances aside, what most impressed Coffman was how the teams encouraged one another at state.
“It was a fantastic season,” he said.
Boys varsity results, top five: Vikings 3A, 29th, junior Tabor Reedy, 16:22; 39th, junior Joel Brose, 16:27; 53rd, sophomore Tyler Spear, 16:44; 70th, senior Lars Blazina, 16:58; and 83rd, senior Jim Dexter, 17:11.
Boys varsity results, top five: Buccaneers 2A, 48th, senior Justin Doud, 17:01; 59th, sophomore Nick Schippers, 17:21; 67th, sophomore Austin Cherry, 17:28; 137th, sophomore Logan Hixson, 19:14; and 139th, senior Shane Hawthorn, 19:19.
Girls varsity results, top five: Vikings 3A, 11th, junior Annelise Weinmann, 19:04; 33rd, junior Hilary Leonard, 19:47; 35th, junior Katie Tertocha,19:51; 48th, senior Shawna Williams, 20:05; and 62nd, freshman Becca Cates, 20:21.
Girls varsity results, top five: Buccaneers 2A, second, junior Ruby Roberts, 18:34; seventh, freshman Marina Roberts, 18:55; 14th, sophomore Rose Bishop, 19:21; 104th, senior Chloe Stamper, 22:18; and 129th, junior Erika Rabura, 23:55.