PASCO -- Broken records and shattered dreams. Powerhouse programs and dethroned champions. Winning at the tape and victory by the mile.
Saturday's state cross country meet at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco had it all, plus more than a dash of local flavor to make the 2011 edition a big hit.
Anthony Armstrong, Kamiakin's standout senior who had won just about everything but a state cross country crown, finally got that elusive win in the day's most thrilling race.
Armstrong passed up two runners, getting the last in the final 25 meters before crossing the finish line in a course-record 14 minutes, 58.4 seconds. Shadle Park's Nathan Weitz, who won the 3A title in front of Armstrong last year and took last week's regional race, was less than a second back.
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"It felt amazing," said Armstrong, who chased Weitz and Lakes' Izaic Yorks for all but a handful of the course's 5,000 meters. "I heard my coach all the way down there saying, 'Use your arms' and 'Two minutes hard.' I knew if I was close, I had a chance."
And after two previous attempts to reach the podium as a team, the Braves finally earned the program's first trophy, finishing third and just a point behind second-place Seattle Prep. North Central had little trouble ringing up a sixth consecutive team title, with all five of the Indians' scoring runners finishing in the top 30 and winning by 21 points.
"It was worth the wait, that's for sure," said Kamiakin senior Austin Richards, who finished 26th, five spots behind sophomore teammate Keegan McCormick and one spot ahead of senior Taylor Kraal. "It's sort of somehow surreal in my mind, to be at state for three straight years. To be here and finally get that podium."
It was a big day for the Kamiakin girls as well, with the team scoring a second consecutive fourth-place trophy and senior Stephanie Rexus finishing fourth.
"I didn't care about what the times were because they all ran well," Kamiakin coach Shaun Suss said. "And to see Stephanie come in fourth was amazing."
However, the race will be remembered for Katie Knight's remarkable performance.
The North Central junior, two times a runner-up to Glacier Peak's Amy-Eloise Neale, ran away from her rival and never slowed. She crossed the finish line in 17:10.6, shattering the mark Neale set last season by 21 seconds.
"What I was thinking about was, 'This is your day,' " Knight said. " 'Do this for your teammates -- boys and girls. Do this for your parents. Do this for Spokane.' "
She did, unseating Neale and erasing any hope the Glacier Peak standout had of joining a new club that opened Saturday: the four-timers club.
Charter member Maddie Meyers of Northwest School in Seattle breezed to her fourth consecutive 1A title, winning by 43 seconds over freshman teammate Hazel Carr and Riverside senior Jess Mildes. It was much closer than her wins the last two years -- last season's was by nearly 2 minutes -- but Meyers entered Saturday more intent on enjoying the day than hunting up another course record.
"It's crazy," Meyers said after signing a couple of autographs for some fellow runners. "I can't even explain how good this feels. To be able to do that -- I had no idea it had never been done."
The Tri-Cities Prep boys retained the 2B/1B title, joining the Lakeside boys in the 1A ranks as back-to-backers. But both have a ways to go to catch the North Central boys (3A) and Northwest Christian-Lacey girls (2B/1B), who won their sixth consecutive team titles.
The Sehome girls also were bidding for a sixth consecutive title in the 2A, but Cheney got in the way with a seven-point victory over the Mariners.
* Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403; email@example.com