By Mike Cane Herald Writer
PASCO — The Stanwood Spartans’ trek over the mountains yielded yet another prestigious trophy.
After placing fourth in the Class 4A team standings in 2008 and third last year, the Stanwood High School girls cross country team finished fourth Saturday during the 2010 Washington cross country championships at Sun Willows Golf Course.
Ranked No. 5 in the state coaches’ poll going into the race, Stanwood actually had its sights set on the first-place trophy. But in a pressure-packed event where just the top four teams in the 16-team, 150-runner field receive hardware, Stanwood performed relatively well even though a mid-race ankle sprain hampered the team’s usual No. 4 runner.
Senior Minna Fields was Stanwood’s top individual finisher. She placed fourth, completing the 3.1-mile (5-kilometer) course in 18 minutes, 11 seconds. The Spartans’ next-fastest runners were sophomore Jordin Stephenson (39th, 19:24.2) and junior Jade Borseth (46th, 19:35.4).
“I tried to help the girls come together by thinking positive. I just really wanted to do well with my team my senior year,” said Fields, the 2009 4A individual runnerup.
Even though she placed two slots lower than last year, Fields’ time was 6 seconds faster than she ran the same course in ’09.
“I feel a lot better than last year,” said Fields, a Lipscomb University recruit.
Top-ranked Eisenhower (110 points) edged Eastlake (116) and Tahoma (116) for the 4A girls team title. Stanwood (158 points) barely held off Bellarmine Prep (160) for fourth place, a day after Stanwood coach Jordan Sneva was named the 4A girls state coach of the year at the Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association meeting in Kennewick.
Inglemoor senior Tansey Lystad (17:44.4) won the 4A girls race.
Jackson High scored 233 points and finished 10th in the team standings. Freshman Jessica Rawlins (47th place) was the Timberwolves’ top individual.
1A girls: Young King’s squad enjoys runnerup finish
After the perennially tough King’s High girls cross country team lost its top four runners — including its three-fastest competitors — from its program because of graduation, the Knights didn’t know what to expect this season. But what initially looked like a possible rebuilding process turned into yet another high-level season-ending performance.
Spearheaded by a pair of speedy freshmen, inexperienced King’s fell short of winning its fifth straight Class 1A state team title but was pleased with a runnerup finish on Saturday at the state meet in Pasco. Fourth-ranked King’s scored 100 points, 20 more than team champ Riverside, the favorite.
“We started the season in a total rebuild,” King’s coach Rod Wilcox said, “so this was the year we were just supposed to be happy to get to state.”
Instead of being satisfied that they were one of 16 teams that qualified for state, the Knights nearly ran their way to yet another 1A championship. King’s top finishers were freshman Kacey Kemper (fifth, 19:44), freshman Sophia Thomas (17th, 20:27) and senior Stephanie Rice (23rd, 20:52).
“It’s really exciting to come back to state and take second,” Rice said. “It was super unexpected.”
Maddie Meyers of the Northwest School won her third straight 1A individual championship. Her time of 17:34 broke the course record but was bettered a few hours later by Glacier Peak’s Amy-Eloise Neale, who won the 3A girls race in 17:31.8.
2A girls: Cedarcrest’s Strodel 7th; Lakewood’s Cundy places 12th
The swirl of emotions Cara Strodel experienced this week almost overwhelmed her, but she buckled down and capped her high school cross country career with another top-10 finish.
Strodel, a Cedarcrest High senior and four-time state-meet participant, took seventh place in the Class 2A girls race on Saturday. Her time of 19:02 was 15 seconds faster than last year, when she placed sixth at state.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Strodel. “It’s just really nice to finish up with a good race.”
It was the fourth career top-10 state individual placing for Strodel, who was 10th in 2007 and 2008.
Strodel’s Cedarcrest team entered Saturday’s meet ranked fifth in 2A but ended up in ninth place, one spot behind Lakewood. Top-ranked Sehome won the team title.
Ninth-ranked Lakewood’s eighth-place team effort was led by junior Rachel Cundy (12th place, 19:18) and senior Chelsea Stokes (27th place, 19:44).
“We couldn’t have expected anything more today,” said Lakewood co-head coach Jeff Sowards, who was named 2A state coach of the year on Friday. “Every girl had a great race.”
Mike Cane: email@example.com. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam and follow Cane on Twitter at MikeCaneHerald.