Glacier Peak girls edge out Terrace for team title

ARLINGTON — It looks like the Glacier Peak girls cross country team is well on its way to replacing two of the best runners in the state the past four years.

And it appears the Grizzlies may have a new rival for the next four years while doing it.

Glacier Peak freshman Heidi Smith finished second at the 3A District 1 girls meet, just behind Mountlake Terrace freshman Katherine Gustafson who won the race, to help the Grizzlies edge out the Hawks for the team title Saturday afternoon in strong winds and heavy rain at Lakewood High School.

Led by Gustafson, Mountlake Terrace placed three runners in the top four and had four Hawks in the top 10, giving Mountlake Terrace a team score of 51.

But Glacier Peak, as it seemingly always does, had a pack of five runners all finish in the top 15, which was just enough to get past Mountlake Terrace with a score of 43.

“I tell ya, Mountlake Terrace is a mean team,” said Glacier Peak head coach Dan Parker. “We were just thanking God they didn’t have a close fifth because we would’ve been toast. That’s an impressive-looking team.”

Smith finished the race in 19 minutes, 0.4 seconds, less than a second behind Gustafson (18:59.21). Behind Smith was Mountlake Terrace’s Ella Schroth and Sophia Nelson, a sophomore and freshman respectively.

Jonalynn Horn and Aleandra Laiblin finished fifth and sixth overall for Oak Harbor, which took third place with 72 points.

All the runners had to deal with a slick course and heavy rains that slowed times down a bit. The rain really picked up before the 3A girls race, the second event of the day.

“It was tough. I don’t think we were prepared for the weather,” Parker said. “And you’ve got to prepare yourself for that. ? It was pretty ugly out there. That being said, everybody runs in the same conditions and you’ve just got to handle it.”

Smith did just that, finishing second for a Glacier Peak team that also had runners place seventh, 10th, 11th and 13th.

“Heidi did a really good job,” Parker said. “?Mikayla Ingram stepped up for us. It was nice to have her back in the top (group). And Katherine Dittmann moved real well. The girls, overall, they did pretty well. But they can do better.”

The team win qualified Glacier Peak for next weekend’s state championships in Pasco, along with the Mountlake Terrace and Oak Harbor teams. The top 15 individual runners – which also included Shorecrest’s Gigi Vujovich and Elise Froebe and Shorewood’s Emily Ransom – also qualified.

Glacier Peak, the top-ranked team in the Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association, defeated Mountlake Terrace by a much more comfortable margin at last weekend’s Wesco 3A championships, 33-61.

But Saturday the Hawks quickly closed the gap.

“That’s an up-and-coming team,” Parker said. “Very impressive.”

All four of the Hawks’ top five finishers are sophomores or younger and Mountlake Terrace’s fifth runner, Maddie Dellinger who finished 36th, is a junior.

Then there’s Gustafson, who won the first district meet she participated in.

“It’s amazing,” Gustafson said. “I wasn’t expecting it. I’m not surprised, but I’m really, really proud.”

Gustafson is eager to continue her first high school cross country season with her team at the state championship.

“I’m so excited for state,” she said. “I’m ready. I’m excited I get to spend it with my team. It’s just been an amazing season.”

The Hawks will have to compete with the state’s best, including Glacier Peak, the defending 3A champions. The Grizzlies are eager to prove they can continue their program’s incredible success without star runners Katie Bianchini and Amy-Eloise Neale, who both graduated last year.

“We’re going to have to step it up next week,” Parker said.

The Glacier Peak coach has glanced at a forecast for Pasco next weekend, and was excited to not see rain in it. Parker said, “this is the worst cross country season” weather-wise in his 25 years of coaching. And while it’s not supposed to rain next week, there will be other elements from Mother Nature to deal with.

“If you look at the forecast, it’s going to be cold there. It’s going to be about 47 (degrees),” Parker said. “It’s not going to be warm. Hopefully it’s not raining. You just have to go and be mentally tough. You’re working against yourself, your opponent, the weather. You’ve just got to be tough.”

3A District 1 Meet

At Lakewood H.S.

5,000 meters

Top 3 teams and top 15 individuals qualify for 3A state meet

Girls team scores—1. Glacier Peak 43, 2. Mountlake Terrace 51, 3. Oak Harbor 72, 4. Stanwood 116, 5. Shorecrest 133, 6. Shorewood 147, 7. Marysville Getchell 174, 8. Ferndale 176, 9. Meadowdale 260, 10. Marysville Pilchuck 279.

Glacier Peak—2. Heidi Smith 19:00, 7. Katherine Dittmann 19:28, 10. Megan Davis 19:44, 11. Mikayla Ingram 19:55, 13. Natalie Church 20:04. Mountlake Terrace—1. Katherine Gustafson 18:59, 3. Ella Schroth 19:01, 4. Sophia Nelson 19:12, 9. Katherine Walter 19:38, 36. Maddie Dellinger 22:23. Oak Harbor—5. Jonalynn Horn 19:14, 6. Alexandra Laiblin 19:27, 15. Laura Rodeheffer 20:14, 22. Marisa Sligh 21:15, 26. Kaitlyn Chelberg 21:40. Individual qualifiers—8. Gigi Vujovich (Shc) 19:29, 12. Emily Ransom (Shw) 19:56, 14. Elise Froebe (Shc) 20:06.

Three qualify for state in 2A

A pair of Cedarcrest runners and a lone Wildcat from Archbishop Murphy were the only three runners from the Cascade Conference to qualify for state in the girls District 1/2 Championship Saturday morning at Lakewood High School.

The Red Wolves’ Olivia Waterman (19 minutes, 26.85 seconds) and Amelia Anderson (19:47.69) finished sixth and 11th respectively, to earn a trip to the state championships Nov. 9 in Pasco.

Archbishop Murphy’s Lindsey Dorney barely made the cut, finishing 14th with a time 20:00.18.

The top 15 individual runners and top three teams qualified for state. Sehome (30 team points), Bellingham (69) and Burlington-Edison took the three spots, finishing just ahead of Cedarcrest (102) and host Lakewood (135).

2A District 1/2 Meet

At Lakewood H.S.

5,000 meters

Top 3 teams and top 15 individuals qualify for 3A state meet

2A girls state qualifiers—Teams: 1. Sehome 30, 2. Bellingham 69, 3. Burlington-Edison 95. Local qualifiers: 6. Olivia Waterman (Cedarcrest) 19:26.85; 11. Amelia Anderson (Cedarcrest) 19:47.69; 14. Lindsey Dorney (Archbishop Murphy) 20:00.18.

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