By JOHN McDONALD
The hole is back in the wall at Lakewood High School.
The hole, a 6-foot gap in a fence on campus, absent for a few years but back this fall, is what makes the school’s annual cross country invitational unique. This year’s Hole-in-the-Wall event is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Saturday at the high school.
While most races end with a sprint to the finish line, the Lakewood race begins with a sprint to the hole. The first runners through the gap have the opportunity to build a lead as the pack stalls behind them waiting for an opportunity to get through the opening.
Twenty-nine schools are entered in this year’s meet, including many teams from the Western Conference 4A, Wesco 3A, Northwest 3A and North Cascades Conference as well as out-of-the-area teams like Colville, White River, Bremerton, Gig Harbor, Tahoma and Central Kitsap.
In fact, the meet is so popular host coach Mike Evans had to turn teams away.
“We could have had 50 teams enter, but our campus won’t hold that many,” Evans said.
Competition over the 3.1-mile course begins with junior high races at 9 a.m. followed by freshman-sophomore, junior varsity, varsity and all-comers races.
The boys varsity race should be a dandy, according to Evans, with Marysville-Pilchuck coming off a big win last week at Mount Baker running against South Whidbey, the No. 1-ranked Class 2A team in the state, and Gig Harbor, No. 7 in Class 4A.
Defending state and Wesco 4A champion Cascade (2-0, 6-2) risks its hold on the division lead today when it plays a dual meet at North rival Sehome (2-1, 6-2).
In the Wesco 4A, Cascade (2-0, 8-0) faces an always tough Shorecrest (1-0, 1-3-3) squad Thursday at Shoreline Stadium.
In the Wesco 3A, defending co-champion Meadowdale (5-0-1, 5-2-1) visits Lake Stevens (5-1, 5-2-1) for a key game Thursday.
The North Cascades begins league play today. Lakewood (7-1), which produced the best non-league record, hosts Mount Baker (3-2) in its opener.
Lynnwood (0-4) and Everett (5-0) kick off the Wesco 3A dual-meet season with a meet today at Everett Community College. The other league teams swing into action Thursday.
In the Wesco 4A, Shorewood (1-0, 2-3) and Oak Harbor (1-0, 2-4), both winners in their first league games, clash tonight at Oak Harbor.
In the Wesco 3A, Monroe (4-1) and Lake Stevens (4-1), tied for second, play Thursday at Lake Stevens.
League play begins tonight in the North Cascades Conference. Undefeated Lakewood (6-0) travels to Mount Baker (2-2) for its opener.
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