The Richland cross country team has had some big years, including team and individual state champions.
But the Bombers have never had a season quite like this, with a pair of top-five state finishers. Now to top it off, senior Michael Williams and junior Lindsey Bradley have been named the Tri-City Herald’s all-area male and female runners of the year.
The award for Bradley comes as no surprise, as she also was the area’s top runner as a sophomore. But it marks a year of big strides for Williams, who went from placing 70th at state to fourth, and from running solo to bringing a team along.
“I think I did real good,” said Williams, who made no bones about going after a state title this year and called his season “a little disappointing.”
“I always kind of set the bar high,” he added.
Williams posted the best state finish for a Richland runner since John Hedengren placed second in 1994, and he was just the 12th top-five finisher from the area in the last two decades in the big-school races (4A or 3A).
“He really kind of separated himself this season,” said Richland boys and girls coach Jay Bartlett. “He is an incredibly confident kid.”
One who figures to be running at college next season. Williams said Washington State, Gonzaga and Idaho have contacted him, and he’s planning on running some indoor events at WSU and Idaho before track season this spring.
Bradley won’t have to worry about colleges calling until this summer, though the phone will be ringing if her spring in track is anything like her fall.
She won every race she ran right up until finishing second at state to Camas’ Alexa Efraimson, who two weeks ago won a national title.
“I’m super pleased with the ending of my season this year,” said Bradley, who had to deal with injury and illness in her previous state races. “I really could not have asked for more.”
She was just the 10th girl to run sub-18 minutes on the 5K state course.
“We knew she was that good, we just hadn’t been able to see it at the end of the year,” Bartlett said. “She was very capable, and going under 18 on that course is a real big deal.”
Just as Richland had a big year for individuals, so did Kamiakin for teams, with the boys placing second and the girls third to earn the school’s sixth and seventh state trophies over the last four years. That led to Matt Rexus and Shaun Suss being named the coach of the year for boys and girls.
The Braves placed four runners on the boys first team: senior Garrett Kraal, juniors Andrew Snyder and Cameron Glade and sophomore Phillip Fishburn. There also is a pair of familiar names from Hermiston: seniors Alejandro Cisneros and Jose Macias, both three-time first-team selections.
Bradley, also is a three-time first-team selection, is joined by junior teammate Sidney Bullock. Kamiakin senior Megan Beauchene, a repeat choice, and sophomore Kaylee Sanchez give the Braves two first-team picks. Rounding out the team are repeat selections Courtney Cox, a Walla Walla junior, and Emily Kump, a Southridge junior, along with Hanford senior Amy Pfaff.
Boys: Michael Williams, sr., Richland; Garrett Kraal, sr., Kamiakin; Alejandro Cisneros, sr., Hermiston; Jose Macias, sr., Hermiston; Andrew Snyder, jr., Kamiakin; Cameron Glade, jr., Kamiakin; Phillip Fishburn, so., Kamiakin
Girls: Lindsey Bradley, jr., Richland; Kaylee Sanchez, so., Kamiakin; Megan Beauchene, sr., Kamiakin; Courtney Cox, jr., Walla Walla; Amy Pfaff, sr., Hanford; Sidney Bullock, jr., Richland; Emily Kump, jr., Southridge
Boys: Keegan McCormick, sr. | Kamiakin; Juan Cortez, sr. | Walla Walla; Daniel Sanchez, sr. | Kamiakin; Eli Shelby, jr. | Richland; Cameron Johnston, so. | Southridge; Isaac Mata, jr. | Walla Walla; Marcus Quiroz, sr. | Royal
Girls: Charlotte Kiehne, jr. | Hanford; Samantha Bagley, sr. | Richland; Emily Moon, jr. | Kamiakin; Brittany Brooks, sr. | Kamiakin; Brooke Hansen, fr. | Southridge; Rachel Schmidt, fr. | Hanford; Hannah Hampson, sr. | Walla Walla
Boys—Jonah Sandoval, so., Richland; Ben Brooks, jr., Kamiakin; Kelly Smith, sr., Tri-Cities Prep; Dennis McDuffie, sr., Richland; Ricardo Saenz, so., Pasco. Girls—Kinzie Icayan, sr., Richland; Erica Leinweber, fr., Walla Walla; Hailey Cleavenger, fr., Hanford; Catherine Feistner, sr., Walla Walla; Lea Davidson, sr., Walla Walla; Allie Stites, so., Southridge; Jori Perrins, sr., Kamiakin.