ARLINGTON — Not even a driving rain could dampen the excitement and festivities as the 33rd Hole in the Wall Invite concluded Saturday afternoon at Lakewood High School.
More than 3,400 athletes from 98 schools competed at this year’s event, including one team from Hawaii.
The course was altered this year due to the construction of the new Lakewood High School and it appeared to be a faster course than previous races.
Then the rain intensified.
“Until the varsity races the weather was great,” said meet director Jeff Sowards. “I think the kids early on were showing that the course was fast and firm and faster because of our construction.”
The boys’ Division 1 race was the final event of the day and personal records were not as prevalent as during the girls’ race a half-hour before.
Camas senior Yacine Guermali finished first in the boys’ race with a time of 15 minutes, 17.3 seconds.
Defending Class 1A state champion Tibebu Proctor of the Northwest School took second in 15:32.6 and Mount Si’s Joe Waskom was third in a personal record time of 15:34.1.
Kamiak senior Cullen McEachern was the top Snohomish County finisher, placing fifth in 15:45.4, while Edmonds-Woodway’s Matthew Park was about two seconds back in 15:47.2 to take seventh.
“I knew it was going to be a fast race the whole time and I felt good too,” Park said. “That pushes me a ton. I know I won’t be alone at any point during the race, and there are fast guys and I just try to hang on to the fast guys. That will carry me to a fast time.”
Park added that the wet conditions forced the competitors to take each turn more slowly than normal, contributing to the slower times.
Fellow Warrior Sam McCloughan was 16th in 16:12.3, while Glacier Peak’s Riley McDowell was 13th in 16:06.3 and teammate Nick Stringer was 19th in 16:17.0.
“I was very pleased with Matt and Sam in the boys’ race,” E-W coach Al Bonney said. “Both of them ran very fast given no real footing and stuff. We have to sharpen, but we still have a month to go.”
Poway (Calif.) earned the team title with 169 team points. Glacier Peak was second with 192 and Camas finished third with 197.
Arlington was sixth with 235 and Lake Stevens finished ninth with 258.
Gig Harbor, ranked third in Class 3A, finished fourth with 204.
“The competition has continued to grow and get better,” Sowards said. “Who knows? Maybe we’ll host another nationally ranked team next year.”
Follow Herald Writer Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.