No one could catch Olivia Thomas as the King’s girls captured the 1A bi-district cross country title at American Lake Golf Course in Lakewood.
Thomas took an early lead en route to a time of 18 minutes, 49.7 seconds, her second fastest time ever, one second slower than her mark at bi-districts last year on the same course.
“It was really almost from the gun,” King’s cross country coach Rod Wilcox said. “She wanted to see if someone was going to run with her and no one did. It was 100 meters in and she was off on her own.”
Officials changed the course a bit this year and made it harder, Wilcox said.
“It was really her best race ever,” Wilcox said.
Thomas, a junior, is the hands down favorite to win the state 1A meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Wilcox said “you got to give the opposition credit” and he hopes someone keeps up with Thomas, but right now it looks like by the first mile she’ll be out on her own.
Sophomore Adele Eslinger finished sixth and ran her second-best time of her career with a time of 20:12.1. Sophomore Morgan Hamm took sixth and ran her career personal record of 20:12.6.
Senior Megan Northey settled her nerves and also had the best race of her career, finishing 10th in 20:32.6, a career personal best.
Sophomore Makenzie Taylor placed 13th with a time of 20:48 and junior Lauresa Smith took 14th in 20:48.6, both all-time best times for each runner.
Senior Becca Thompson finished 18th in 21:08.3.
The girls team is the heavy favorite to repeat as champions but LaCenter could make a run at them.
“LaCenter ran pretty good times at their district, so as a team we still have a challenge,” Wilcox said.
The girls bi-district, which combines Districts 1 and 3, got four team berths to state and 20 individual berths. Most combined districts and District 2, received three team berths and 15 individual berths. Districts 1 and 3, got a bonus this year.
On the boys side, there was no bonus, only three teams and 15 individuals, which meant the King’s boys, who finished fourth, missed state. The King’s boys streak of 16 consecutive state trips came to an end, the third current longest streak in the state, according to Wilcox, who has done research on state cross country history. The Bishop Blanchet boys team extended its streak to 30 state meets while Lakewood’s boys team extended it streak to 24, last weekend.
The King’s boys will still send three runners to state, junior Brandon Dean (second at bi-districts, 16:38), junior Erik Halvorsen (10th, 17:15) and senior Connor McMahon (11th, 17:16).
Four runners, McMahon, junior Phillip Mach (26th, 18:04), sophomore Nate Faubion (29th, 18:05.9), sophomore Nick Lowe-Hale (30th, 18:08) and Austin Dean (31st, 18:15) had lifetime personal records by 50 seconds or more.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys,” Wilcox said. “It was just that the opponent was better.”
Wilcox said his 2000 boys team ran similar times and won state, but ran into a tough district this year.
“Guys ran great, it’s just that those who won it earned it,” he said.