Columbia High’s boys cross country team left everything they had on the hilly Sun Willows Golf Course last Saturday on its way to an 11th-place finish in the 2014 WIAA 1A Championship in Pasco.
Bruins Coach Jill Cole called the placing “amazing.” CHS’s previous best finish in a state meet was fourth in 1996.
“We knew breaking into the top 10 would be extremely difficult and we focused on beating all the teams in our district, which we did,” Cole said.
Columbia’s first five runners tallied 297 points. The Bruins’ district competition, Eatonville, Montesano, and La Center placed 12th-14th.
Sophomore Colin Howe led the way for the Bruins on the hilly 5,000-meter course, crossing the finish line in 54th place, in a personal-record time of 17 minutes, 29.30 seconds.
Senior Cabot Roe, who ran a PR at district the week before, followed 10 places later in 17:42.97. Sophomore Will Nuckoles came in 71st in 17:52.40.
Junior Miguel Lemmon completed the course in 18:51.90, which was good for 120th place. Sophomore Fletcher Andrews ran a seasonal best last Saturday (18:54.14) and rounded out the team’s scoring with a 121st-place finish.
Freshman Declan Liddiard capped an outstanding rookie season by coming in 129th in 19:14.92. Senior John Foley (139th) posted a time of 20:23.30 in the final race of his prep career.
All told, 142 boys started and finished the championship race. Among them, 41 established personal records, and nine clocked seasonal bests.
“Colin had an amazing race leading the team across the hilly course,” Cole said. “The boys were focused and gave it everything they had on Saturday. We have had an incredible season and I am very proud of this team. They have worked so hard and all that hard work paid off.”
Medical Lake, which placed five runners in the top 19, won the meet with 53 points — 27 fewer than runner-up King’s.
In the 1A girls meet, CHS had three individual entries: freshmen Rachel Luther and Haley Blair, and junior Sidra Matthias. Luther placed 63rd in 21:26.31, Blair was 73rd in 21:41.37, and Matthias was 86th in 22:00.68.
“The girls ran hard races and had respectable finishes,” Cole noted. “Our two freshmen, Rachel and Haley, ran like veterans. They always push the pace and give it 110% effort.”
The girls final featured 138 runners. Thirty-four of them achieved PRs and 18 ran seasonal bests.
Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls captured the girls title with 49 points. Southwest District champion Eatonville placed seventh with 201, and La Center was 10th at 247.