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NK boys, Kingston girls top cross country meet
KINGSTON — Champions fell and rivalries were renewed on the track at Kingston High School Wednesday afternoon.
After outrunning Sequim’s Allison Cutting, last year’s state cross country champion, Kingston’s Ruby Roberts hunched over exhausted and immobile for several seconds.
The five-kilometer effort was as much mental as it was physical.
“It helps if you tell yourself that if you slow down other people will catch you,” Roberts said. “When you get to a certain point, you say, ‘Just hold this pace for one more mile; a mile is nothing.’”
Roberts finished the race with a time of 18 minutes, 59 seconds.
On the boys’ side, North Kitsap High seniors Tabor Reedy and Joel Brose had a duel of their own. In the final 100 meters of the race, the two sprinted toward the finish and Reedy edged in front of his teammate to come in with a half-step advantage. Both racers recorded a time of 17:01.
“They had a head-to-head battle,” Kingston Head Coach Roger Coffman said. “They work hard, and it shows up.”
Kingston junior Nick Schippers finished third in the race.
The NK boys topped the team standings, with 30 points. Sequim was second with 45, followed by Kingston with 59.
Back in the girls’ race, North Kitsap’s Katie Tertocha came across the finish line sixth, despite carrying a patchwork of dirt, scrapes and bruises from hip to ankle on her right leg. Tertocha had taken a spill coming down a dirt hill in the first mile of the race.
“I had a good rhythm going” before the fall, Tertocha said. “I tried to make up time and didn’t get my rhythm back.”
Tertocha’s teammate, Annelise Weinmann, finished fourth, but the fall was enough to push the NK girls out of first place in the contest. Kingston’s Marina Roberts and Ramona Morshead took the No. 3 and 5 spots and propelled their team into first, with 33 points, one point ahead of North.
Both the North Kitsap and Kingston teams will travel to Yakima today for the SunFair Invitational. The meet is a chance for the schools’ top runners to shine. College scouts primarily look at a runner’s performance in large invitationals and state competitions when deciding whether to offer scholarships, NK Head Coach Richard Christopher said.
Runners who finish at the front of the pack use more strategy than merely going fast, though.
“You want them to go out and run their pace, because you don’t want them to run too fast,” Christopher said, “You want them to be fresh enough at the end to have a kick. So the strategy is not to go out, no matter how good you’re feeling, and run that first mile so fast that you don’t have anything left for the last two.”
Kingston’s Schippers said it helps to relax when keeping a good race pace.
“You have to say, ‘OK, this is the pace I’m running in,’” Schippers said. “You almost put in a whole bunch of little bursts of energy, and that will help you keep your pace to where it is.”
In addition to strategy, factors like form and good genes play a big role for the area’s top runners. But even the best natural runners require a lot of hard work to stay on top.
“You could have a good runner that doesn’t care about running, and they’re not going to be good,” Kingston Assistant Coach Karla Laubach said. “If Ruby hadn’t been working out, Allison would have beat her in the race.”