High School Sports

Armstrong runs to Sunfair title

YAKIMA -- Anthony Armstrong may someday have a better day on a bigger stage.

But it likely will be a long time before Kamiakin's distance dynamo or his Braves teammates top what they accomplished Saturday at the prestigious Sunfair Invite at Franklin Park.

Armstrong's victory in the signature seventh flight over an elite field that would rival any state meet was the crowning moment on a day the Braves dominated. Kamiakin's 28-point total was 10 better than host Eisenhower and Eagle, Idaho.

"It was great," Armstrong summed up.

On the girls side, Glacier Peak was the big winner, led by Amy-Eloise Neale's course record of 17 minutes, 3.9 seconds. The Grizzlies scored 18 points to finish seven ahead of Camas.

The Kamiakin girls led the local charge, finishing 15th behind Stephanie Rexus' 11th in the seventh flight and Michelle Fletcher's 10th in the sixth.

Eagle won the combined team score with 98 points, topping perennial Portland power Jesuit by 23 points. Kamiakin finished sixth.

The Braves claimed the boys title with top-10 performances across the board, starting with Christian Rodriguez's win in the first flight. Keegan McCormick finished third in the fifth flight, won by Hermiston's Alejandro Cisneros; brother's Garrett (third flight) and Taylor (second) both finished fourth.

But one of the Braves' biggest showings was its lowest, with Austin Richards placing ninth in a fast sixth flight after sitting in an Eisenhower classroom for more than 5 hours taking the SAT before heading over to Franklin Park to run in the second-fastest flight.

No chance he was going to miss this race, the senior said.

"Nope. I've been here three years, this is my fourth year, my senior year," Richards said. "I hold the junior record (16:32, set as a freshman), and I wanted to do something special my final year here."

Special is a good word to describe Armstrong, ranked fifth in the nation and the top seed in a field featuring four nationally regarded runners.

One of those runners, 4A state runner-up Andrew Gardner of Mead, was neck-and-neck with Armstrong approaching the final 600 meters after several runners carried the lead earlier in the race.

That's when Armstrong turned on the jets.

"The final 600 meters is downhill," noted Kamiakin coach Matt Rexus. "With the speed Anthony has, it worked like a charm."

Armstrong finished in 15:07.7, almost 2 seconds ahead of Gardner for the 14th best time run in the 38 years of Sunfair.

Walla Walla's JP Wolpert finished 14th in 16:06.7.

"Sixth flight is not as tough as seventh," said Wolpert, who finished third in the sixth flight last year. "It was a good experience."

Hermiston's Jose Macias was among the early leaders but couldn't stay with the pack, finishing 26th in 16:31.3.

Still, it was a strong day for the Bulldogs, the defending Oregon 5A state champs. Along with Cisneros' win in the fifth flight (15:53.9), teammate Javier Velasco won the fourth flight in 16:20.7, and Eduardo Juarez (16:08.5) was seventh in the sixth flight. The Bulldogs finished 10th in the team standings.

In the girls premier event, Neale led most of the race and always seemed in control, even when North Central's Katie Knight briefly took the lead midway through. Her 17:03.9 won by 16 seconds over Knight, whose time was third fastest ever run by a girl at Sunfair.

Neale shattered the 17:10 Bellarmine legend Brie Felnagle set in 2004.

"It's a little intimidating -- Katie Knight and Amy Neale up there," Stephanie Rexus said of the pre-race introductions for the top seeds.

"You get anxiety -- they're good," said Walla Walla junior Rachel Nelson, who finished 28th in 19:38.3 on a bum ankle, one spot behind Hermiston's Maggie Coleman and one ahead of Southridge's Rachel Dahl. "But it makes you want to prove that you can get up there and do really good. You use it as motivation."

Rexus recovered after being buried at the start, working her way from outside the top 20 to 11th for most of the race and finishing in 18:27.1.

"I was one spot worse than last year," she said, "but my time was a lot (50 seconds) better than last year."

at Franklin Park, Yakima (3 mile)


Team scores (top 5 and local)--Kamiakin 28, Eisenhower 38, Eagle (Idaho) 38, Bellevue 54, Rocky Mountain (Idaho) 44.; 10, Hermiston 101; 26, Walla Walla 181; 44, Southridge 272; 45, Kennewick 295; 46, Hanford 299.

Winners and local

Flight 7--Anthony Armstrong (Kam) 15:07.7; 14, J.P. Wolpert (WW) 16:06.7; 26, Jose Macias (Herm) 16:31.3; 37, Jeevan Philip (Han) 17:12.6; 45, Isaac Lugenbeal (SR) 18:14.5. Flight 6--Jaziel Rodriguez (Ike) 15:49.8; 7, Eduardo Juarez (Herm) 16:08.5; 9, Austin Richards (Kam) 16:12.2; 19, Greggory Heller (WW) 16:38.2; 30, Joseph Schuldheisz (Ken) 17:04.4; 42, Brody Sams (SR) 17:49.7; 45, Ben Hoffner (Han) 17:59.2. Flight 5--Alejandro Cisneros (Herm) 15:53.9; 3, Keegan McCormick (Kam) 16:09.0; 10, Sean Newcomb (WW) 16:35.8; 25, Michael Martinez (Ken) 17:20.2; 36, Brandon Degarimore (SR) 17:38.1; 48, Hao Zhai (Han) 18:29.3. Flight 4--Javier Velasco (Herm) 16:20.7; 7, Austin Oser (Kam) 16:42.5; 16, Sean HOllenbeck (WW) 17:07.8; 33, Brett Konzek (SR) 17:40.2; 46, Joe Traverso (Han) 18:29.3; 47, Colin Rice (Ken) 18:29.7. Flight 3--Max Hampton (Eagle) 16:21.0; 4, Garrett Kraal (Kam) 16:41.6; 26, Kain Garcia (Herm) 17:45.8; 44, Quinten Docken (SR) 18:28.2; 45, Alec Jones (WW) 18:29.5; 50, Clive LePage (Han) 18:42.4; 55, Prescott Davis (Ken) 19:38.9. Flight 2--Nathan Wadhwani (Terry Fox) 16:37.4; 4, Taylor Kraal (Kam) 16:56.0; 13, Nathan Sanders (Herm) 17:35.4; 40, Vince Rodriguez (SR) 18:34.9; 46, Dan Butler (WW) 18:55.9; 47, Joseph Collett (Han) 18:59.2; 49, Ty Smith (Ken) 19:09.3. Flight 1--Christian Rodriguez (Kam) 16:44.5; 34, Miguel Mateo (Herm) 18:43.9; Galen Forreset (Han) 19:14.1; 44, Zach Telfer (WW) 19:14.4; 49, Evan Detienne (SR) 19:46.9.


Team scores (top 5 and local)--Glacier Peak 18, Camas 25, Jesuit 56, Eagle (Idaho) 60, Cheney 60; 15, Kamiakin 134; 27, Walla Walla 166; 30, Southridge 197.

Winners and local

Flight 7--Amy-Eloise Neale (GP) 17:03.9; 11, Stephanie Rexus (Kam) 18:27.1; 27, Maggie Coleman (Herm) 19:35.2; 28, Rachel Nelson (WW) 19:38.3; 29, Rachel Dahl (SR) 19:42.4. Flight 6--Katie Bianchini (GP) 18:02.3; 10, Michelle Fletcher (Kam) 19:38.1; 19, Hannah Hampson (WW) 20:11.0; 23, Katie Markwick (Herm) 20:36.6; 32, Leslie Olsen (SR) 21:11.4. Flight 5--Austen Reiter (Camas) 19:08.3; 12, Catherine Feistner (WW) 20:06.6; 21, Emily Kump (SR) 20:55.8; 42, Kelli Niederwerfer (Herm) 22:08.9. Flight 4--Phacelia Cramer (SEug) 19:28.4; 17, Brittany Brooks (Kam) 20:38.6; 26, Lea Davidson (WW) 21:23.4; 33, Michaela McCune (SR) 21:38.7. Flight 3--Lindsay Wourms (Camas) 19:39.8; 15, Samantha Meadows (Kam) 21:06.8; 39, Crystal Cain (Herm) 22:56.5; 42, Jenny Wall (WW) 23:02.8; 45, Jamie Callahan (SR) 23:35.3. Flight 2--Samantha Northrop (GP) 20:08.2; 26, Michelle Snider (SR) 22.23.3; 27, Jori Perrins (Kam) 22:35.4; 28, Emily Atkinson (WW) 22:36.2; 46, Maria Juarez (Wah) 24:45.0. Flight 1--Katie Arndorfer (Jesuit) 20:22.0; 20, Sarah Meadows (Kam) 22:23.4; 25, Kckelle Willwand (WW) 22:35.8; 26, Morgan McCune (SR) 22:39.5; 41, Linda Achelpohl (Wah) 23:57.6.