Bonner comes from behind to triumph

LANGLEY — Lacey Wagner found herself in a position she hadn’t been in before.

Ellie Bonner found herself in a position she didn’t want to be in.

In the end it was the veteran Snohomish runner, Bonner, defeating the Lake Stevens’ freshman Wagner in the closest race of the day at the 2A, 3A, 4A District 1 championships held at South Whidbey High School Saturday.

Bonner outlasted Wagner by .21 tenths of a second, surpassing the freshman in the final 5 meters of the 5,000-meter race.

The senior’s time of 18 minutes, 39.67 seconds was .21 better than Wagner’s time of 18:39.88.

Wagner entered the stadium leading a pack of five runners heading into the final 300 meters of the race. It was a position she wasn’t accustomed to.

“I’m not used to running in the lead. I’ve never been ahead of everybody for a very long time,” Wagner said.

Once Wagner entered the stadium the moment caught up to her as did Bonner.

“I heard everybody yelling and I was like oh my, someone’s close to me,” Wagner said.

With about 200 meters to go Bonner made her move, catching Wagner and surpassing her at the last second — literally.

“The last 200 meters I couldn’t hear anybody and I wasn’t thinking. I was just focusing on passing her,” Bonner said.

The Snohomish standout missed out on racing in last year’s districts because of an injury and she finished second in last week’s Wesco North championship.

The motivation from those two races, combined with the fact that she will never compete in districts again, prodded her down the stretch.

“I was disappointed finishing second (last week). I didn’t run this race last year and going into the last 200 I knew I wanted this race. I just told myself that this is the last time at districts and you’ve got to make up for last year,” Bonner said.

After the race Bonner met up with Wagner, shaking her hand and congratulating her on a race well done.

“She’s a freshman so I’m sure she’ll do great things for her career,” Bonner said of Wagner.

Bonner’s victory helped lead Snohomish to the 4A District 1 championship, its eighth consecutive district title.

“It feels good, especially this year,” Bonner said of Snohomish’s team title, “I can’t imagine not relying on my team behind me.”

The Wesco North proved to be the stronger conference with the top five runners all coming from North squads and all three 4A state qualifying teams also coming from the North.

Haley Nemra’s third-place finish led Marysville-Pilchuck to a second-place team finish.

The senior — along with her teammates — was sporting eye black underneath her eyes. “A little warrior paint,” she said, hoping it helped give her team an edge in qualifying for the state tournament.

The edge paid off as the Tomahawks qualified for their third straight 4A state meet.

“The big focus was getting the team to state. It’s so much better going as a team than going by yourself,” the four-time state qualifier said.

Nemra entered the last 300 meters in fifth place but once she hit the track “I kind of just got into a zone.

“It felt so good and I just thought ‘track — sprint’ and just went for it. I’m a track girl; I love track,” Nemra said.

The senior passed Monroe’s Lyndy Davis, who won the North championship last week, and sprinted past Oak Harbor’s Mietra Smollack for the third-place finish.

“When I got past Lyndy I was like, ‘Hey that’s a first!’ and kept going with it,” Nemra said.

A year after finishing second in this same race, Davis finished fifth but still was not disappointed in her run.

“You can never be disappointed with yourself that’s not what it’s about,” the Monroe senior said.

“I was very impressed. It was a strong group this year,” she said.

Wagner, who finished surrounded by veteran runners, and fellow freshman Cia Bywater helped the Vikings wrap up the third 4A state team berth.

At South Whidbey H.S.

3.1 miles (5,000 meters)

For complete results go to www.watfxc.com.

4A girls

Team Scores (top three qualify for state meet)—1. Snohomish 61, 2. Marysville-Pilchuck 98, 3. Lake Stevens 109, 4. Monroe 124, 5. Jackson 135, 6. Oak Harbor 147, 7. Shorewood 172, 8. Kamiak 173, 9. Stanwood 201, 10. Edmonds-Woodway 245, 11. Mountlake Terrace 286, 12. Cascade 324, 13. Mariner 376.

Top five runners for top three teams

Snohomish–1. Bonner 18:40, 10. Fairbanks 19:23, 12. Whybark 19:35, 14. Condon 19:40, 24. Bastian 20:17.

Marysville-Pilchuck–3. Nemra 18:44, 17. Ainsworth 19:51, 25. Kimmell 20:24, 26. Schafer 20:28, 27. Hall 28:30.

Lake Stevens–2. Wagner 18:40, 8. Bywater 19:09, 11. S. Minor 19:33, 34. J. Minor 20:49, 54. M. Wright 21:36.

Other top 15 individuals who qualified for state

4. Smollack (OH) 18:48, 5. L. Davis (M) 18:51, 6. Johnson (Sh) 19:04, 7. Verma (St) 19:07, 9. S. Davis (K) 19:15, 13. Ohlsen (M) 19:39, 15. Ponce (J) 19:44.

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