Lindsey Bradley had waited long enough.
Two trips to the state cross country meet for the talented Richland runner and two disappointing races individually for one of the top distance kids in the state.
Enough was enough, and Saturday, she had more than enough.
The Bombers junior uncorked a marvelous performance at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, covering the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 44.57 seconds to place second in the Class 4A race.
The fact that she finished nearly a minute off the record pace of Camas’ Alexa Efraimson — who rapidly is making a name as the best high school distance runner in state history — took no shine of the medal for Bradley.
“It was amazing,” she said around a giant smile. “I can’t believe I finally had a good state race in cross country.”
Those happy feelings spread to Kamiakin in the 3A race as the Braves finished third in a close team heat. Glacier Peak repeated as team champs with 102 points, Lakeside of Seattle was second with 112 and Kamiakin third with 124 to secure its fourth consecutive state trophy.
“I’m totally happy with how the girls ran,” said Kamiakin coach Shaun Suss, noting that while his team couldn’t repeat last year’s second-place finish, times were down across the board at all seven positions. “Really and truly happy.”
Sophomore Kaylee Sanchez (18:40.26) and senior Megan Beauchene (18:47.29) led the charge, finishing 5-7 for the Braves. Emily Moon (32nd) and Brittany Brooks (42nd) also finished top 50; it was the fourth time the senior Brooks ran on a trophy-winning team.
Hanford placed ninth in the team race, led by Amy Pfaff in 21st (19:15.77). Teammates Charlotte Kiehne and Rachel Schmidt placed 35-36.
Pfaff, who finished 37th running solo last season, said she was happy to have the company: “This year my team was with me, that was better. It was so much more exciting.”
Sanchez said it was a thrilling experience just to run in the race after failing to crack Kamiakin’s varsity seven as a freshman. She was on hand as an alternate, but spent most of the season as the team’s front runner.
“It feels really great,” she said. “I was happy to finally make this, it’s so different to be (running) here.”
Her performance throughout the season was made bigger by Beauchene’s absence. The senior who placed fourth last year found herself slowing down this fall after overtraining through the summer.
She came back two weeks ago in districts and ran at regionals. Her goal for Saturday had nothing to do with where she placed.
“My only goal today was to stay mentally tough, and I did,” said Beauchene, who recently committed to run at the University of Washington next year. “I could not be happier with today and with this season.”
Bradley’s first two state experiences got a little off the rails. She finished 35th as a freshman dealing with some injures and perhaps the jitters. She placed 24th last year, crawling out of a sick bed to help the Bombers place fourth.
For someone who figured to be a top-five finisher last year, and one who finished third in the 3,200 meters at state track last spring, this performance was a long time coming.
“I couldn’t be happier,” she said.
Bradley got off to a good start on a day when no one was going to chase down Efraimson. Early on, she ran stride for stride with Union’s Alexis Fuller, who placed second and third the last two seasons.
Bradley, who has plenty of track experience against Fuller, knew she wanted to open a gap over the second mile and led by about four seconds with three-quarters of a mile left.
“I knew I didn’t want to come down to a kick,” she said after finishing a full nine seconds ahead of Fuller.
Courtney Cox finished 24th to lead Walla Walla to 13th place in the school’s first team berth since 1993. Bradley’s teammate, Sidney Bullock, placed 49th.
The Tri-Cities Prep girls finished sixth in the 2B/1B race, with Audrey Hermann in 14th (20:57.85) and Victoria Nunez 16th (21:22.84).
Team scores—Bellarmine Prep 92, Camas 105, Tahoma 125, Central Valley 146, Snohomish 193, Central Kitsap 193, Eisenhower 194, Garfield 225, Eastlake 227, Skyline 245, Gig Harbor 250, Jackson 251, Walla Walla 256, Olympia 279, Union 292, Wenatchee 424. Top 10—Alexa Efraimson (Camas) 16:49.10; Lindsey Bradley (Rich) 17:44.57; Alexis Fuller (Union) 17:53.70; Brenna Peloquin (GH) 17:54.95; Amber Rosae (Ingle) 17:59.83; Alissa Pudlitzke (Camas) 18:06.46; Sofia Kane (Oly) 18:12.52; Delaney Tiernan (Tah) 18:14.28; Rose Christen (CKit) 18:15.19; Elise Tello (Ike) 18:15.87. Richland—2, Bradley; 49, Sidney Bullock 19:10.97. Walla Walla—24, Courtney Cox 18:46.61; 79, Erika Leinweber 19:37.14; 81, Lea Davidson 19:38.20; 89, Hannah Hampson 19:44.77; 101, Catherine Feistner 20:04.26; 107, Jenny Walla 20:11.77; 129, Alicia Ojeda 20:50.11.
Team scores—Glacier Peak 102, Lakeside (Seattle) 112, Kamiakin 124, Prairie 156, Mountlake Terrace 157, Liberty-Issaquah 167, Peninsula 180, Holy Names 186, Hanford 186, Mt. Spokane 219, Oak Harbor 238, Bellevue 239, Enumclaw 296, Shelton 387, Mountain View 399, North Thurston 408. Top 10—Andrwe Masterson (Lks) 17:49.83; Sophie Cantine (Lks) 18:01.63; Nicole Goecke (Pra) 18:12.05; Brigette Takeuchi (Lib-Iss) 18:30.79; Kaylee Sanchez (Kam) 18:40.26; Katherine Gustafson (MtlTer) 18:46.46; Megan Beauchene (Kam) 18:47.89; Jonalynn Horn (OkHr) 18:48.32; Sophia Nelson (MtlTer) 18:57.23; Nikita Waghani (Intr) 18:59.57. Kamiakin—5, Sanchez; 7, Beauchene; 32, Emily Moon 19:31.63; 42, Brittany Brooks 19:46.62; 65, Lindsey Lowe 20:13.59; 82, Jori Perrins 20:37.45; 92, Alexia Estrada 20:48.80. Hanford—21, Amy Pfaff 35, Charlotte Kiehne 19:40.66; 36, Rachel Schmidt 19:41.41; 69, Hailey Cleavenger 20:18.93; 72, Haley Porter 20:22.24; 124, Liliana Raasmussen 22:50.85. Southridge—68, Brooke Hansen 20:18.76; 100, Emily Kump 21:01.21.
Team scores—Sehome 31, Bellingham 88, Capital 99, Lindbergh 172, Burlington-Edison 183, Tumwater 185, West Valley-Yakima 202, Ellensburg 214, North Kitsap 259, Deer Park 265, Sumner 307, Steilacoom 310, Port Angeles 311, Cheney 331, RA Long 347, Selah 360. Top 10—RaynJoy Norton (BE) 17:58.16; Emily Pittis (Seh) 18:12.64; Ellie rowan-Arnett (Seh) 18:32.00; McCall Skay (WVS) 18:38.45; Lauren Pierson (Cap) 18:43.45; Ruby Watson (Seh) 18:47.26; Brittany Aquino (EVS) 18:51.05; Kathleen Ramsey (NK) 18:51.05; Olivia Waterman (Cdr) 19:18.47; Alem Belete (Foster) 19:21.37. Prosser—77, Hana VerMulm 20:49.13.
Team scores—Lakeside 51, Riverside 84, King’s 146, Northwest 156, Mt. Baker 157, Freeman 188, Merdian 192, Lynden Christian 201, South Whidbey 209, Medical Lake 214, Montesano 255, La Center 259, Royal 352, White Salmon 385, Zillah 395, Elma 398. Top 10—Erin Mullins (Csc) 18:32.76; Kacey Kemper (King) 18:37.37; Rebecca Mildes 18:56.03; Audrey Western (Uni) 19:10.88; Kelsaie Nern (Mt.B) 19:11.99; Jessica Ircink (Lks) 19:14.00; Lindy Jacobson (Lks) 19:19.70; Hazel Carr (Nw) 19:23.86; Amy Murphy (NkVl) 19:23.91; Mikayla Shuler (Rivsd) 19:29.52. Royal—67, Meghan Mianecki 21:32.78; 79, Caitlin Diaz 21:53.66; 96, Brea Diaz 22:15.53; 100, Anahi Gomez 22:21.07; 118, Carina Moreno 23:27.41; 125, Sam Eilers 24:16.83; 132, Bianca Lopez 25:40.37. Wahluke—104, Stephanie Juarez 22:25.37. Connell—131, Rachael Price 25:13.30.
Team scores—Northwest Christian-Lacey 45, Ocosta 95, St. John-Endicott 95, Asotin 96, Reardan 101, Tri-Cities Prep 106, Morton White Pass 114, Bridgeport 228. Top 10—Sierra Speiker (Oro) 18:20.41; Madison Ward (SG) 19:01.42; Kiersten Kimmianu (NWCL) 19:23.35; Anna Brooks (NWCL) 19:32.64; Harley Strope (Rear) 19:48.58; Alicia Herrera (Moss) 19:51.22; Lucy Eggleston (Aso) 19:56.33; Shania Graham (Rep) 19:57.25; Jordan Porubek (SJE) 19:58.64; Shania Bailey (SJE) 20:29.39. Tri-Cities Prep—14, Audrey Hermann 20:57.85; 16, Victoria Nunez 21:22.84; 46, Emma Slahtasky 22:56.23; 47, Allison Jacobs 23:04.86; 50, Amia McGrath 23:09.82; 54, Yvonne Lumetta 23:20.90; 64, Adriana Bernal 25:10.30. Waitsburg-Prescott—32, Emily Adams 22:10.88. Liberty Christian—41, Alexis Turner 22:46.26.