PASCO — After missing state last year for the first time in the program’s short but success-filled history, the Glacier Peak girls cross country team was hungry for redemption.
And with yet another championship performance by the distance-running powerhouse, the Grizzlies certainly made up for last year’s absence.
Glacier Peak hoisted a first-place state team trophy for the fifth time in nine years, claiming the Class 4A girls team title at the state championship meet Saturday afternoon at Sun Willows Golf Course.
“When we found out, we were all almost in tears,” Grizzlies senior Samantha Boyle said. “It was like the best moment ever.”
With its latest state triumph, Glacier Peak added to 3A state team titles in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015. This was the Grizzlies’ first state championship since moving to 4A in 2016. Glacier Peak now has nine top-three team trophies in the program’s 11-year history.
The Grizzlies’ return to state glory began after last year’s district-meet heartbreak, when they missed sending their team to state after losing a tiebreaker with Jackson for the final spot.
“We didn’t do so good at districts (last season), and it gave us so much motivation over the past year to just train really, really hard,” Boyle said. “We’re super close, and we all just work so hard and we wanted it so bad.”
“The day-by-day was a hard journey to go through, but it obviously paid off in the end,” Glacier Peak senior Brooke Wallace added. “It’s really exciting, because last year at this time we were all really disappointed that we weren’t here as a team. And this year we’re back and better than ever.”
The Grizzlies finished atop the 4A team standings with 77 points, beating defending state champion and second-place Lewis and Clark by 26 points.
Glacier Peak placed four runners in the top 25 and five in the top 61, finishing with just a 46-second spread between its five scoring runners. Boyle led the way, finishing in 14th place with a time of 19 minutes, 6.0 seconds on the hilly 5,000-meter course.
“The five of them just rotate who’s going to lead on any given day,” Grizzlies coach Dan Parker said. “That’s been the hallmark of all the teams I’ve coached. We’ve always talked about being able to reach out and touch your teammate during a race. … It’s the whole pack mentality, and that’s the way you win as a team.”
Aviry Stratton recently was diagnosed with anemia, an iron deficiency that affected her performance the past couple of weeks. But the junior standout delivered a gutsy effort Saturday, placing 19th with a time of 19:16.4.
“She ran a heck of a race,” Parker said. “Just a courageous race.”
Lindsay Ardry, a junior participating in her first season of cross country at the high school level, placed 20th in 19:16.9.
“It was absolutely vital,” Parker said of the boost Ardry’s addition provided the team.
Wallace placed 25th (19:25.1) and junior Alexis Palmer came in 61st (19:52.5) to round out Glacier Peak’s scoring.
“We knew it was going to be really tough with Lewis and Clark, and (that) we’d all have to run great,” Stratton said. “We all just worked together and made it happen.”
Smith captures 1A title to lead King’s
King’s junior Naomi Smith capped her spectacular season with a state championship, claiming the 1A girls title with a winning time of 18:16.7.
Smith, a second-year cross country runner, finished 10.6 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor and posted the sixth-fastest time overall in the five girls races Saturday. She entered the meet with the third-fastest time in the state regardless of classification.
“I am so excited,” she said moments after her victory. “This is like something I’ve been dreaming of ever since I started cross last year. … I’m just so excited. I’m in shock.”
Smith led the Knights to a second-place team trophy. King’s finished with 114 points, just six points behind state champion Lakeside-Nine Mile Falls.
Smith had a background in distance running through track and field, but played volleyball as a freshman before taking up cross country for the first time last season. She placed seventh in state last year, then sliced nearly 75 seconds off last season’s best time during a dominant junior campaign.
“She’s a testament to hard work in the offseason,” King’s coach Rod Wilcox said. “She improved (by over) a minute in the last year, and elite girls don’t (usually) do that. When so many are just trying to stay even, she’s improving dramatically.”
Lake Stevens’ Roe places third
Lake Stevens senior Taylor Roe capped her decorated prep cross country career with a fourth top-three state medal, placing third in the 4A race with a time of 18:16.0.
Roe was grouped in a tight three-runner lead pack for the first two miles, but Bellarmine Prep freshman Ella Borsheim pulled away to claim the state title with a winning time of 17:36.1.
Roe won back-to-back state titles as a freshman and sophomore, and added a second-place finish last year. She also has five distance-running state championships in track and field.
“Her career has been incredible,” Vikings coach Stuart Chaffee said. “She’s had a great season. She had some struggles during the spring in track season, and I think she really bounced back nicely this fall and has some momentum coming out of cross-country season that hopefully carries over into the spring in track.”
Snohomish earns third-place trophy
Snohomish captured a third-place team trophy, placing all five scoring runners in the top 60 of the 3A race. Sophomore Ellie Baxter placed 24th (19:36.5) and senior Megan Campbell finished 29th (19:46.4) to lead the Panthers.
Great day for Kamiak runners
Kamiak finished with three runners in the top 15 of the 4A race. Freshman Emma Arceo placed seventh (18:55.4), senior Alicia Anderson finished ninth (18:57.8) and senior Leah Clark came in 15th (19:09.8).
Other notable local finishers
Shorecrest senior Lillian Visser placed sixth in the 3A race with a time of 18:47.1.