ARLINGTON — Snohomish County boys teams flexed their muscles in one of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest annual cross country meets.
Glacier Peak, Jackson and Edmonds-Woodway each earned a top-four team finish Saturday afternoon in the 34th annual Hole in the Wall Invitational at Lakewood High School.
Glacier Peak took second place in the boys varsity Division 1 team standings with 178 points. Jackson placed third with 212 points and Edmonds-Woodway came in fourth with 222 points.
Redmond claimed the team title with 105 points. Arlington took 10th place and Lake Stevens placed 13th out of 36 teams in the meet’s top division.
Afterward, Jackson coach Eric Hruschka praised the strength of Wesco this season.
“You’ve got Lake Stevens, Jackson and Glacier Peak on the 4A side that are really, really good right now,” Hruschka said. “And then Edmonds-Woodway may be the best guys program (in the area) right now.”
The top local individual finisher was Jackson junior Joseph Skoog, who took fifth place with a time of 15 minutes, 29.2 seconds on the 5,000-meter course. Skoog crossed the line 3.5 seconds ahead of Glacier Peak junior Riley McDowell, who placed sixth.
It was Skoog’s first time beating McDowell in either cross country or track and field. The two standouts figure to square off again later this month in the Wesco and district championships.
“I’ve been trying to get him for awhile,” Skoog said. “He’s such a strong runner. We’ll see what happens at Wesco and districts.”
McDowell said the two are friends on and off the course.
But as for Skoog now holding the upper hand after beating McDowell for the first time?
“We’ll change that next meet,” McDowell said with a smile.
McDowell and Skoog each said they ran a little bit slower than they had hoped, as neither posted their fastest time of the season. But both runners logged times Saturday that were considerably better than their state-meet times from last year.
McDowell ran nearly 40 seconds faster than the time he logged at last season’s Class 4A state meet, when he took 21st place.
Skoog ran about 53 seconds faster than his 30th-place time at last year’s state meet. Last week, he posted a 5,000-meters personal-best time of 15:23.9 during a sixth-place finish at the Nike Portland XC Invite in Oregon.
“Last week was a breakthrough race for him,” Hruschka said. “And being able to do it consistently two weeks in a row shows a lot.”
Camas junior Daniel Maton won the varsity Division 1 race with a time of 15:11.8. Mount Si junior Joe Waskom crossed the line 1.9 seconds later to take second place.
Skoog finished ahead of both Maton and Waskom in last week’s Nike Portland XC Invite, but was unable to keep pace with the two stars Saturday.
“This junior class statewide right now looks like it might end up being the best class to ever come out of the state,” Hruschka said. “And just to be part of that is pretty cool. He’s right in the game with those top guys.”
The next-highest local finisher behind Skoog and McDowell was Jackson senior Mateo Rivera, who took 12th place with a time of 15:53.7.
Glacier Peak showcased its strength with four runners in the top 45. Grizzlies senior Nicholas Mullineux Perrault placed 42nd (16:28.0), followed by sophomore teammate Elijah Lopez in 44th place (16:29.6) and sophomore Nathan Tastad in 45th (16:29.9).
“It was a good performance by them today,” Glacier Peak coach Dan Parker said. “Riley has been sick all week, so he didn’t have the race of his life. But the other guys packed it up really well, and that’s what we like to do.”
Edmonds-Woodway was led by junior Lucas Lacambra, who placed 15th with a time of 15:55.9. Sophomore teammate Deyago Peraza took 23rd (16:08.9) and junior Dylan Hartono came in 32nd (16:22.1) for a Warriors team that was missing its No. 5 runner due to illness.
“If they run that close together at state,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Al Bonney said, “I think they’ve got a real good shot of moving up.”
Medical Lake senior Tyler Pena won the varsity Division 2 race with a time of 16:09.9.