Nothing like a little pressure and a big target to start the season.
The Kamiakin boys cross country team is rated eighth in nation in Dyestat's preseason rankings, six spots ahead of five-time defending 3A state champion North Central of Spokane.
The Braves return all seven runners from last year’s team that finished a disappointing (for them) fifth at state, including senior Anthony Armstrong, a double state champion in the mile and 2 mile in the spring who placed third in state cross country last year. Other senior state vets are Austin Richards, Phil Snyder and Taylor Kraal.
North Central, which has had a remarkable run nationally as well as in the state, has four of seven returning runners and no seniors.
Both the Kamiakin boys and girls figure to rank at or near the top in the state, with the Braves girls returning four of their five scoring runners and five of seven from last year’s four-place trophy team, including junior Michelle Fletcher (7th at state) and senior Stephanie Rexus (8th).
Kamiakin’s girls didn’t crack the national poll. The only Washington team to land in the Top 25 is Glacier Peak of Snohomish, lead by internationally recognized junior Amy Eloise-Neal, who won state titles as a freshman and sophomore.
Another local cross country team with big plans this season is Tri-Citites Prep, which won the 2B/1B boys state title last season and returns all seven state runners, led by senior Nick Lumetta (seventh) and junior Nick Tudor (10th).