A year ago when the Kamiakin Braves learned they were runners-up in the Class 3A race at the state cross country championships, big smiles and jubilant celebrations were the order of the day.
But on Saturday when the Braves accepted their trophy at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco as runner-up to North Central, the smiles seemed to slip a bit, and there were no boisterous cheers.
“You always want to do well,” said Kamiakin junior Andrew Snyder, who was in the middle of the 8-9-10 finish of Garrett Kraal, himself and Cameron Glade. “We’ve just got to work harder as a team.”
And there you have it, the evolution of expectation from a program that was thrilled just to be there five seasons ago, marveled at a team trophy in 2011 and reveled in runner-up last season.
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The difference was not lost on their coach, Matt Rexus, nor was their outstanding 70-point performance, 29 off the 41-point pace of North Central, which claimed its eighth consecutive team title.
“It’s a great score, and that tells you how good these other teams ran,” said Rexus, noting Gig Harbor won the 4A race with 37 points. “North Central had a fantastic race. They ran better than us. But I felt like we ran a great race.”
Richland’s Michael Williams knew he ran a great race in the 4A, finishing fourth behind the Gig Harbor tide that washed away any doubt about the top-ranked team in the nation.
Following Logan Carroll, Wolfgang Beck and Tristan Peloquin’s 1-2-3 finish, Williams motored across the line in 15 minutes, 17.87 seconds, just over 11 seconds off the winning pace.
Williams, a senior, made no bones about the fact he was shooting for a state title throughout the season, a big target considering his 70th-place finish last year.
He was in good position throughout the race, comfortably in fourth a mile in and steadily increasing his margin over the rest of the pack. He finished ore than 4 seconds ahead of fifth-place Drew Schreiber of Eisenhower.
“It just came down to the last 400 meters,” said Williams, who posted the best state finish for a Richland boy since John Hedengren finished second in 1994. “Gig Harbor is a good team.”
The Richland boys finished 13th in the team standings, making their first showing at state since 1995. Walla Walla’s Juan Cortez, running solo, placed 46th in 16:15.77.
North Central junior Tanner Anderson won the 3A individual title in a course record, 14:32.83, to edge defending champion Joe Hardy of Seattle Prep. NC teammate Kai Wilmot placed fourth, and the Indians completed their scoring five in the top 17 runners.
Phillip Fishburn was the fourth Kamiakin finisher in 24th, and Keegan McCormick rounded out the scoring in 33rd.“We’re pretty pumped,” Kraal said. “Everybody had a great race. Of course we wanted to win, but we ran better than we ever have. North Central just showed up with a big race.”
Tri-Cities Prep needed to show up with a very big race to claim a fourth consecutive 2B/1B boys title. However, the Jaguars came up short and settled for fourth, still claiming their fourth team trophy in as many seasons.
Kelly Smith and Joseph Ghirardo finished 13-14 for Prep, and Phillip Geist placed 17th. E.J. Meserve of Waitsburg-Prescott ifnished 29th. Northwest Christian of Colbert won the team crown with 68 points.
In the 1A ranks, Royal’s Marcos Quiroz finished 11th to lead the Knights to 10th in the team standings. Wahluke’s Ramon Bravo finished 25th.
Team scores—Gig Harbor 37, Redmond 119, Central Valley 149, Garfield 166, Bellarmien Prep 170, Tahoma 192, Eisenhwoer 196, Jackson 205, Eastlake 215, Wenatchee 240, Skyview 260, Olympia 267, Richland 269, Camas 331, Kamiak 341, Kentridge 358. Top 10—Logan Carroll (GH) 15:06.37; Wolfgang Beck (GH) 15:09.28, Tristan Peloquin (GH) 15:14.24; Michael Williams (Rich) 15:17.97; Drew Schreiber (Ike) 15:22.02; Cameron Stanish 15:23.90; Peter Kesting (Oly) 15:26.97; Riley Campbell (Tah) 15:28.09; Mahmoud Moussa (GH) 15:29.62; Miler Haller (Edm-Wdwy) 15:30.86. Richland—4, Williams; 75, Jonah Sandoval 16:32.21; 84, Eli Shelby 16:37.60; 110, Dennis McDuffie 16:57.84; 113, Brandon Crawford 17:01.18; 134, Jacob Redden 17:37.61; 138, Trevor Morrow 17:47.25. Walla Walla—46, Juan Cortez 16:15.77.
Team scores—North Central 41, Kamiakin 70, Nathan Hale 86, Mt. Spokane 119, Seattle Prep 147, Bishop Blanchet 161, Columbia River 220, Shorewood 222, Liberty-Issaquah 237, Mountlake Terrace 262, Glacier Peak 280, Kelso 290, North Thurston 314, Lakes 355, Shelton 359, Peninsula 388. Top 10—Tanner Anderson (NC) 14:32.83; Joe Hardy (SPrep) 14:33.16; John Dressel (MtS) 14:53.36; Kai Wilmot (NC) 15:05.89; Andrew Foerder (NH) 15:09.18; Nicholas Hauger (SP) 15:10.21; Sam Leach (NH) 15:21.33; Garrett Kraal (Kam) 15:24.42; Andrew Snyder (Kam) 15:26.94; Cameron Glade (Kam) 15:28.52. Kamiakin—8, Kraal; 9, Snyder; 10, Glade; 24, Phillip Fishburn 15:51.98; 33, Keegan McCormick 15:59.13; 50, Daniel Sanchez 16:17.95; 57, Ben Brooks 16:26.78.
Team scores—Sehome 102, Squalicum 128, Cedarcrest 149, West Valley-Yakima 156, Sequim 166, Lindbergh 178, East Valley-Spokane 179, Cheney 182, Lakewood 206, Ellensburg 235, Tumwater 252, Sumner 322, Mark Morris 329, Port Angeles 331, Renton 337, Capital 346. Top 10—Devon Grove (LkWsh) 15:29.72; Chad Stevens (EV-S) 15:38.16; Chris Fredlund (Squal) 15:39.26; Scott Kopczynski (EV-S) 15:46.06; Logan Orndorf (Cdr) 15:49.69; Endalkachew Abebaw (Lind) 15:55.19; Kirby Overman (Sehome) 15:57.80; Ben Monk (Cap) 16:01.80; Aaron Brumbaugh (MrkMor) 16:02.43; Skylar Ovnicek (WV-S) 16:04.34.
Team scores—Medical Lake 72, La Center 112, Meridian 126, Lakeside 132, King’s 140, Riverside 166, Charles Wright 172, Northwest 195, Cashmere 202, Royal 231, Overlake 244, South Whidbey 320, Zillah 340, White Salmon 341, Elma 358, Toledo 369. Top 10—Graham Peet (Nw) 15:50.8; Andrew Ayres (King) 15:53.0; Ryan Coffman (Lksd) 16:12.2; Tibebu Proctor (Nw) 16:16; Ryan Clarke (PT) 16:20.6; Collin Magnusson (Merid) 16:23.2; Domenic Rehm (ML) 16:24.6; Jordon Bigler (LaC) 16:25.8; JT Lauderdale (Lks) 16:27.0; Spencer Elmore (Qui) 16:36.7. Royal—11, Marcos Quiroz 16:37.4; 61, Riley Lefler 17:35.9; 66, J.J. Jimenez 17:41.9; 84, Nathan Perdue 17:56.4; 106, Salvador Horta 18:12.4; 120, Clifford Lester 18:34.9; 125, Victor Garcia 18:41.1. Wahluke—25, Ramon Bravo 17:02.9.
Team scores—Northwest Christian-Colbert 68, Asotin 101, Northwest Christian-Lacey 105, Tri-Cities Prep 120, Liberty Bell 121, St. George’s 149, Republic 166, Reardan 190, Mossyrock 263, Onalaska 273, Crosspoint 308, Three Rivers 319, Bickleton 337, Chief Leschi 371, Lake Roosevelt 377. Top 10—Chandler Teigen (Aso) 15:52.99; Luke Schilter (NWCL) 16:18.31; Hunter Olsen (SG) 16:34.34; Jack Ammon (NWCC) 16:35.86; Thomas Weakland (Aso) 16:39.54; Liam Daily (LB) 16:44.74; Ben Klemmeck (LB) 16:50.01; Duncan forsman (Rep) 16:54.20; Seth Carns (TRC) 16:55.73; Alex Wallat (NWCC) 17:00.67. Tri-Cities Prep—13, Kelly Smith 17:04.69; 14, Joseph Ghirardo 17:04.84; 17, Phillip Geist 17:13.00; 47, Jorge Guajardo 18:04.60; 49, Sean McGrath 18:04.66; 54, Isaac Nelson 18:18.79; 63, Cesar Robles 18:32.40. Waitsburg-Prescott—29, E.J. Meserve 17:38.11.