PASCO -- Here is a race-by-race look at the 2011 Washington state cross country championships at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco:
Last year, the team title slipped from the grasp of Spokane schools for the first time in 23 years. On Saturday, the trophy went back to the west side of the Cascades for the first time since 1986 as Gig Harbor topped defending champ Eisenhower 55-78.
The Tides had three runners place among the top 16, led by sophomore Wolfgang Beck in fifth. Santos Vargas' third-place finish led a strong 1-2 punch for Ike, but the Cadet pack couldn't hunt up another title.
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Wenatchee's Jacob Smith brought home his school's first individual crown, winning in 15 minutes, 3 seconds, just ahead of Mead's Andrew Gardner (15:07.0).
"I had no clue," said Smith, who won at Nike Pre-Nationals earlier this season. "A ton of guys have run good around the state. I thought it could be anybody's race."
Jordan McPhee might start to like the Tri-Cities.
The Mount Rainier sophomore, who only started running to stay in shape for basketball, cruised to the title in 17:24.7. Her time was good enough to be a record last season, but was only third best overall on this day.
"I knew I could do well at state because I did so well in track," said McPhee, who won the Richland Invite last month and topped Union freshman Alexis Fuller by more than 42 seconds for the state title. "I really wanted to win state."
Tahoma claimed the team title by 11 points over Bellarmine Prep in a potential preview of next year's race. Both teams lose just one senior and return their top three runners.
Kamiakin's Anthony Armstrong denied Shadle Park's Nathan Weitz a repeat title, making a late move to finish in a course-record 14:58.4. Weitz was just under a second back, followed by Lakes' Isaic Yorks after the trio seperated from the pack early.
"I saw Anthony coming, and I tried my best," Weitz said. "But he beat me. He deserved the win."
Weitz and Armstrong have a curious running record against each other. Last season, Armstrong won at regionals and Weitz won at state. This season, the two flip-flopped, with Weitz winning regionals last week.
But neither could overshadow the performance of North Central, which won its sixth consecutive team title. Keith Williams (sixth) and Kai Wilmot (eighth) started a flood of maroon and black, with the Indians landing six runners in the top 33.
The most-anticipated race of the day lived up to its billing, with North Central junior Katie Knight finally winning a title after finishing runner-up to Glacier Peak star Amy-Eloise Neale the last two years.
Knight and Neale ran stride-for-stride for two miles before Knight moved ahead and stayed there. Her time of 17:10.6 shattered by 21 seconds the course record that Neale set last season.
Neale finished second, 18 seconds back but also under last year's record time.
"She's amazing," Knight said of Neale, as gracious in victory as she had been in defeat the last two seasons. "If she won, I would have been OK with it because I ran the fastest time of my life. She's really great."
The bad news for Glacier Peak didn't stop there. The defending champs were upset by Camas by two points in the team race.
Squalicum's Patrick Gibson finished 10th last year, and the junior made the jump to the top of the podium.
His time of 15:28.8 was 5 seconds better than Aberdeen junior Poli Baltazar.
Lindbergh edged defending champ Sehome by a single point after finishing second to the Mariners last season. The Eagles won despite not placing a single runner in the top 15 -- Sehome had two among the first 11.
Sehome claimed its first 2A individual title but in the process lost in its bid for a sixth straight team crown.
Cheney pulled out the team win by seven points, thanks to junior Sanne Holland's fourth-place finish. In an ironic twist, Holland was third the last two seasons.
Sehome freshman Emily Pittis topped the field in 17:17, catching up late with Kingston's Marina Roberts, a two-time runner-up who wound up third.
King's senior Hap Emmons laid back, kept his cool and let the front runners do all the work. When Emmons sprung, none of them had enough left to reel him back in, his 15:44 mark 11 seconds better than No. 2.
"These guys are good, and I can't go at their pace," he said. "If I hold onto it, I can outkick them."
Lakeside repeated as team champ, winning its fourth title in six years.
Maddie Meyers completed her marvelous state career with a fourth title. The senior from Northwest School in Seattle was on cruise control and still won by more than 43 seconds in 17:54.6.
Additionally, her team made the podium with a third-place finish. Lakeside claimed the team title after finishing fourth the last three seasons.
While Tri-Cities Prep was repeating as team champ, Lucas Graham of Northwest Christian-Lacey was regaining the individual title he lost to teammate Justin Holden last season.
Northwest Christian-Lacey earned its sixth straight team title, the Navigators' 30 points less than a third of second-place Reardan.
Colfax's Morgan Willson, who won the title two years ago as a sophomore, reclaimed it from Oroville's Sierra Speiker. Willson's 18:36 was nearly 50 seconds faster than Speiker.