By AARON COE
PASCO – If Adam Roe was going to win one race this year, he figured it might as well be the state cross country meet.
The King’s junior shocked everyone but himself when he was the first runner across the finish line in the Class A/B race Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. Teammates Brandon Thompson and Skylar Agnew, both Edmonds residents, finished third and ninth, respectively, as the Knights won their second consecutive team title. The King’s girls finished second.
Sure, Roe was fifth at the 1999 state meet, but he hadn’t won any race – not even a dual meet – all year long. And with his back giving him problems, it seemed unlikely he’d be able to beat his nemesis, John Bensen of Seattle Christian, who had beaten Roe in every race this year.
With his back nagging him, even Roe began to wonder. He punched his sore back 300 yards into the race and felt a pop. Suddenly, the pain disappeared. Roe stayed behind the front pack and allowed them to eat the strong headwind that caused many runners to be as much as a minute slower than a year ago.
“I have heart,” said Roe, whose time was only four seconds slower than last year’s. “I can endure more pain than anyone, and I knew I could fight through the wind.”
Roe made his move with less than a half-mile to go on the 3.1-mile course, and finished two seconds ahead of Reid Carrell of No. 1-ranked Freeman.
“I just kept telling myself, ‘Endure, endure,’” Roe said. “I can’t ask for anything more than this. Our team won, and I won. The guys did a great job.”
John Coglan (23rd overall, 17th in team results) and Steven Miller (70th, 42nd) were also part of the Knights’ title team. All five King’s runners will be back next year.
Roe said he was inspired by the King’s girls, who also surprised many by finishing second.
Ashley Watkins, who was living in California a year ago, was second behind three-time state champion Laura Halverson of Freeman.
“We weren’t even sure if we would be here,” said Watkins, who was behind about 20 competitors after the first mile. “I’m just glad to be here with my team. We were able to focus and fight through the wind.”
Tricia Hansen, who has battled injuries for two years and was 28th a year ago, finished sixth. Freshman Rachel Wagner, Lisa Mall and Tiffany Widing completed the Knights’ top five.