EDMONDS — Jordan, Pippen and Rodman. Aikman, Smith and Irvin. James, Wade and Bosh.
Sports history is full of iconic trios.
The Edmonds-Woodway girls cross country team has its own ‘Big Three’ in Yukino Parle, Olivia Meader Yetter and Stephanie Wroblewski.
The three Warriors are each ranked in the top 10 of the state’s 3A classification heading into Saturday’s cross country state championships at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Parle is ranked No. 1, followed by Meader Yetter at No. 2 and Wroblewski at No. 10.
Edmonds-Woodway coach Al Bonney — who has spent 49 years coaching collegiate and high-school cross country — said it’s rare to see a trio this dominant relative to the competition.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had that kind of group,” Bonney said. “When I was at Syracuse University — probably the third or fourth year of my coaching career — I had four guys who were relatively close.
“(But) I don’t think they were as dominant as these three girls are.”
Parle, a senior who has verbally committed to Boise State University, posted the fastest 5,000-meter time in the state’s 3A classification this season when she won the Twilight Invitational in 17 minutes, 42.7 seconds.
Meader Yetter, a junior, ran the Twilight Invitational in 17:55.6 for the state’s second-fastest 3A time.
Wroblewski, a junior, holds the 10th-fastest time with an 18:38.2 in the Hole in the Wall Invitational.
The trio pulled off a rare feat last Saturday, finishing 1-2-3 in the 3A District 1 championships.
“It’s really fun,” Bonney said, “because part of what makes them go is each other.”
The Big Three tend to push each other during training sessions — sometimes a little bit too much.
“I had them do a workout today, and I actually had to slow them down because they were going way too fast,” Bonney said after Tuesday’s practice. “So they push each other a lot.”
The trio is led by Parle, a Division I-bound runner who is coming off her third consecutive district title.
Parle placed second in state as a sophomore and seventh last year as a junior before making considerable gains this season. The senior has improved her personal-best time from last year by 19.1 seconds.
Both Parle and Bonney attribute her lower times this fall to more consistent training over the summer.
“In the past, I’d miss a couple days from being on vacation, or I’d miss chunks of training,” Parle said. “And this year, I didn’t really have anything that got in the way. So I was able to train throughout the entire summer.”
“She’s always worked hard,” Bonney added. “But more than anything else, she was just far more consistent than she’d ever been before.
“And I’ve always argued that consistency is probably more important than talent.”
Parle also has excelled in track and field as a three-time state finalist in the 3,200 meters. She won the state title as a sophomore and placed second last spring.
Parle is known for her strong closing kick, which she showcased last month while edging two-time defending 4A state champion Taylor Roe down the final stretch of the Hole in the Wall Invitational.
“She’s the best finisher I’ve ever worked with — and that’s male or female,” Bonney said after that race. “If you don’t have her flat in the bag or in the hole, she’s going to take you out.
“She has this innate drive, this fire,” he added. “Whatever term you want to use for it, she is just a competitor. She’s just really something else.”
Parle said her competitive nature fuels those strong finishes, motivating her to churn out every last ounce of energy.
“I hate losing,” she said. “And so I think it’s just something in my personality that when someone tries to out-kick me, there’s something that comes out and I’m able to out-kick them.”
Parle isn’t the only member of Edmonds-Woodway’s Big Three who has significantly improved her times this season.
After placing fourth in state as a freshman and eighth last year as a sophomore, Meader Yetter bettered last season’s personal-best time by 46.1 seconds this fall.
Bonney attributed much of her improvement to increased durability, which has enabled her to train more consistently. Meader Yetter also credited a better mindset.
“It’s just been more about consistency this year, and I’m more in touch with myself,” she said. “But I think I can still go faster. I think there’s something left in there. I just have to find it this weekend.”
Wroblewski’s biggest improvement came as a sophomore last season, when she placed 15th in state after placing 66th as a freshman. She sliced her personal-best time by 54.7 seconds from freshman to sophomore year, and has chipped off another 13.6 seconds this season.
Bonney said Wroblewski’s success is a result of her tireless work ethic and the high standards she sets for herself.
“She’ll always be mad at (herself) because she didn’t go fast enough — didn’t do this, that or the other thing,” Bonney said. “But that character (trait) presents itself in the drive that it gives her to be as good as she is.
“She is so dedicated every day,” he added. “You practically have to tell her, ‘You cannot run tomorrow,’ because she (will) just run and run and run.”
In each of the past two 3A state meets, the Edmonds-Woodway girls have placed second in the team standings.
The dynamic trio of Parle, Meader Yetter and Wroblewski seek to lead the Warriors to another strong finish this time.
Heading into Saturday’s race, Edmonds-Woodway is ranked No. 2 in the state’s 3A classification, according to Athletic.net. The favorite is North Central (Spokane), which has five runners ranked in the top 50.
Rounding out the Warriors’ top seven are sophomore Sophie Gard, junior Alyssa Hershey, senior Thea McAfee and junior Kaitlynn Rust, who made a late-season return after battling back from injury. Team scoring factors in each school’s top five finishers.
“I just have a feeling that a couple of those kids are going to come through and help us get to the finish line — literally and figuratively,” Bonney said.
“It’s just a great bunch of kids. They’re fun to coach, they love to work and they work hard. They’re pretty amazing.”