Lindsey Bradley, on the whole, is a pretty cool customer when it comes to post-race self-evaluations.
So the big smile on her face following Saturdays Eastern Washington 4A regional was a pretty big tell.
Bradley simply owned the final two-thirds of the three-mile race at Carmichael Middle School, crossing the finish line in 18 minutes, 7.4 seconds for a 44-second winning margin and her first regional crown.
It was icing on the cake that was the Bombers team title as four Richland runners finished in the top 10.
It means a lot, said Bradley, who was a freshman on last years team that just missed qualifying for state. We worked really hard this season, and Im really proud of all the girls. Were super excited.
With good reason.
They will go to next weekends state meet at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco ranked third in the state with a terrific chance to bring home the programs first state trophy since the Bombers won it all in 1993.
Additionally, Bradley could well post the programs first top-five finish since Brandi McCoy won the state title in 2000.
That was coming, Richland coach Jay Bartlett said of Bradleys impressive finish. You could see that bubbling under the surface. Now well see if she can do it again in a week, see if she can get some hardware.
With only the top two teams and top 10 individuals earning state berths, there was not much room for slip-ups on a cool and rainy day. And while Bradley was in front from the start, her teammates waited for the pack to sort itself out before they made their moves.
Lauren Perry (third, 19:02.9) waited for the first mile before putting herself in the race for second, and Kinzie Icayan (sixth, 19:23.8) and Sidney Bullock (ninth, 19:26.9) moved up through a starting pack of about 25.
A mile into the race, Bradley was a few steps ahead of Lewis & Clarks Gracie Ledwith and Ferris Anisa Allaet as they crested the first climb up Carmichael Hill. A few hundred yards later, Bradley was seven seconds ahead. A quarter mile later, the gap doubled, and it widened the rest of the way.
My goal was to push myself as hard as I could when I was by myself, said Bradley, who topped her time on the same course three weeks ago at the Richland Invite by nearly 10 seconds.
I dont look back at all. The race is always in front of you.
Walla Walla got one girl through to state when sophomore Courtney Cox finished fourth (19:20.6), but the Blue Devils just missed on two more as senior Rachel Nelson and junior Hannah Hampson finished 11-12. Nelson, who has battled an ailing ankle, was less than a second away from 10th and her fourth state berth.
Wa-Hi did had a big day on the boys side. While Spokane teams claimed the top four team spots, the Blue Devils moved two runners to state as senior Sean Newcomb placed third (15:30.7) and junior Ben Wolpert eighth (15:50.9).
You have to stay focused, stay relaxed, said Newcomb, adding that he made a point of not getting caught up trying to keep pace with Meads Andrew Gardner (14:52.1) and Lewis & Clarks Sumner Goodwin (15:06.2), who are nationally ranked.
For Richland junior Michael Williams, who finished seventh (15:49.5), the focus has been on staying healthy and being confident. And after missing his sophomore year to a hamstring injury, qualifying for state feels pretty good actually. I didnt know if I would get this far.
At Carmichael MS (3 mile)
Team scores (top 2 to state)Central Valley 52, Lewis & Clark 59, Mead 82, Ferris 109, Walla Walla 126, Gonzaga Prep 129, Richland 144, Chiawana 251, Pasco 285. Top 10 to stateAndrew Gardner (Md) 14:52.1; Sumner Goodwin (LC) 15:06.2; Sean Newcomb (WW) 15:30.7; Logan Giese (CV) 15:32.3; Travis Thorne (Fer) 15:41.1; 6, Kyler Goins (LC) 15:49.2; Michael Williams (Rich) 15:49.5; Ben Wolpert (WW) 15:50.9; Spencer Jansen (CV) 15:52.2; Peter Helman (Fer) 15:52.8. Richland7, Williams; 21 Ryan Francis 16:32.5; 31, Jonah Sandoval 17:06.2; 41, John Crandall 17:28.5; 44, Brandon Crawford 17:44.7. Walla Walla3, Newcomb; 8, Wolpert; 32, Juan Cortez 17:07.5; 37, Zach Telfer 17:14.5; 46, Keaton Sullivan 18:08.0. Chiawana45, David Thien 18:03.3; 49, Abram Valdovinos 18:19.9; 51, Eric Stauffer 18:36.9; 52, Nick Cooper 18:50.1; 54, Jesse Delgado 19:06.6. Pasco53, Luis Ochoa 18:50.9; 55, Elias Rodriguez 19:14.3; 58, Jaron Rasmussen 19:26.9; 59, Carlos Garcia 19:36.3; 60, Roberto Cardona 19:52.5.
Team scores (top 2 to state)Richland 47, Gonzaga Prep 74, Lewis & Clark 75, Central Valley 84, Walla Walla 90, Ferris 138, Mead 151. Top 10 to stateLindsey Bradley (Rich) 18:07.4; Gracie Ledwith (LC) 18:51.5; Lauren Perry (Rich) 19:02.9; Courtney Cox (WW) 19:20.6; Anisa Allaet (Fer) 19:21.8; Kinzie Icayan (Rich) 19:23.8; Cyra Carlson (GP) 19:24.8; Ann Moloney (GP) 19:26.3; Sidney Bullock (Rich) 19:26.9; Maya Pardue (LC) 19:27.6. Richland1, Bradley; 3, Perry; 6, Icayan; 9, Bullock; 28, Samantha Bagley 20:16.3. Walla Walla4, Cox; 11, Rachel Nelson 19:28.3; 12, Hannah Hampson 19:31.9; 27, Catherine Feistner 20:15.6; 36, Ashley Cornia 20:46.5. Chiawana41, Genesis Taber 21:00.4.