PASCO — Two in a row is fun, but a three-peat is extra sweet.
The King’s High School girls cross country team continued its reign over Class 1A competition Saturday during the 2008 Washington State Cross Country Championships at Sun Willows Golf Course.
After winning state titles in 2006 and 2007, King’s made it three in a row. The Knights, coached by Rod Wilcox, scored 49 points and outlasted runner-up LaCenter (80 points).
King’s also won three consecutive championships earlier this decade (2001-2003 in A/B). What made the 2008 title run unique?
“We have seniors on this team that have been with the program for a long time,” Wilcox said, “so it’s really exciting to see them go out on a high note.”
One of the seniors is Olivia Thomas. She won the 1A individual title a year ago but placed second this time behind champ Maddie Meyers, a freshman from Seattle’s Northwest School. It wasn’t close as Meyers completed the 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes, 53 seconds and Thomas finished 41 seconds later. Meyers broke the 1A meet record.
“Obviously Olivia was a little disappointed,” said Wilcox, “but winning the team (title) takes the edge off of that disappointment.”
Thomas said she was sick the past few days and loaded up on cold medicine Saturday morning, hoping she’d feel better in time for the race. “It didn’t work the way I wanted, but I’m happy,” she said.
And why not? Thomas capped her cross country career with another top-10 individual finish. Starting with her freshman season, she placed eighth in 2A, second in 1A, first in 1A and second again in 1A.
“It’s been fabulous,” Thomas said. Cross country “became the favorite part of my day. My best friends are on the team. The social aspect of it is amazing.”
By finishing top-two in 1A, Thomas qualified for the Washington vs. Oregon Nike BorderClash (Nov. 23 in Beaverton, Ore.).
In addition to Thomas, the top performers for King’s were Adele Eslinger (sixth), Makenzie Taylor (18th), Morgan Hamm (23rd) and Stephanie Rice (30th).
Proving the King’s team members are much more than just fast runners, the Knights also received an award for their fall 2008 1A girls academic state championship. The seven runners combined for a 3.939 grade-point average.
“These are smart girls,” Wilcox said. “Cross country is a very dedicated sport and you just learn dedication to everything you do.”
King’s boys place third
Seniors Griffin McGinley and Brandon Dean sparked a third-place team performance for King’s in the 1A boys race. McGinley and Dean finished 15th and 16th, respectively. They were separated by just six seconds.
Lakeside took the 1A team championship.
Writer Mike Cane: email@example.com. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.