Tough Panthers prevail

By Chris Trujillo

Herald Writer

LAKEWOOD – Ryan Roache is a Snohomish Panther, through and through.

But there’s more to it than donning the red and black school colors. There’s the gutsy, never-say-die mentality to embrace, something he showed Thursday while helping to lead Snohomish to the Western Conference North Division boys cross country cchampionship at Lakewood High School’s 3.07-mile course.

Although he was a good six seconds behind teammate and second-place finisher Stevie Blackburn, Roache (16:11) caught Stanwood’s Nick Cairus, who had a sizable lead over him for most the race, and then held him off for the last 200 meters to finish third.

“He had me for most of the race,” Roache said. “I just kicked it in and focused on getting past him.”

Faraz Bala (16:16) and Jimmie Poier (16:18) helped Snohomish to its 20-point victory over Stanwood (47), finishing fifth and sixth respectively. M-P took third place (61), with Mount Vernon (140) and Cascade rounding out the top five.

Mount Vernon’s Jon Skelton ranaway with individual honors with a time of 15:55.00, beating the course record, which was 15:55.7.

“I love running in the rain,” Skelton said. “I didn’t think I was going to have a good day, but I felt better than I have in a long time.”

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