By Aaron Coe
PASCO – King’s winning state cross country championships is becoming as much of an annual fall event as the turning of the leaves.
The King’s boys won their third straight Class A/B team title Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, and the girls won their first.
“Back to back to back,” said wide-smiling King’s coach Rod Wilcox. “And just for fun, we threw the girls in there, too.”
The competition was not even close in either race. The girls won by 50 points and the boys by 33. The boys total of 37 (low score wins in cross country) was the best by an A/B team since N.W. Christian’s 34 in 1994 and best by any team since Mead’s 34 in 1996.
The girls, who call themselves the “Battle Maidens,” won despite the loss of No. 1 runner Ashley Wadkins, who moved to California before the school year.
Losing Wadkins, who would have been the top returning A/B harrier, did nothing to slow the Knights, who placed their top five runners in the top 16 places of the team standings for a total of 36 points.
Senior captain Tricia Hansen, a Brier resident, led the charge by finishing ninth overall (3rd team). She was followed immediately by Rachel Strand (fourth, 10th) and Heidi Kieling (fifth, 11th), who lives in Bothell. Melody Miles, a freshman who resides in Marysville, finished 15th overall (eighth team), and Lynnwood resident Rachel Wagner was 33rd (16th).
“Lot’s of people stepped up today,” Hansen said. “It’s exciting. We worked very hard over the summer.”
“When we lost Ashley, the coaches told us we’d have to work really hard if we wanted to win state,” Miles said. “We worked hard every day in practice.”
Though the boys won easily, several Knights had long faces after the race.
“We did well as a team, but individually we should have done a lot better,” said Skylar Agnew, who finished 17th overall (11th team) after placing ninth last year. “I was hoping to finish in the top five.”
Adam Roe was wearing an even bigger frown. The senior, who finished first just ahead of Freeman’s Reid Carroll at the 2000 meet, finished second behind Carroll on Saturday. Roe, who may have been suffering some aftereffects of a bout with mononucleosis earlier in the season, refused to say illness was the reason.
“I’m not going to make excuses,” said Roe, whose time was 22 seconds better than last year’s. “I guess I just didn’t have enough heart. I’m happy with what the team did, though.”
Brandon Thompson (fourth team, fifth overall) and John Coghlan (seventh, 11th) had strong races for the Knights, as did freshman Brent Woodham, who out-leaned junior brother Aaron Woodham for 20th (13th team).
Wilcox said he believes more championships lie ahead for both teams. Roe, Coughlin and Hansen are seniors, but all the other top runners will be back next year.
“The younger ones learned a lot today,” Wilcox said. “This isn’t the end.”