Cross Country teams show improvement

At the Curtis Invitational last Saturday, the Pirates all set personal bests.

With the short cross country season half over, the Pirate and Mustang harriers look forward to closing out the season with success on the personal and team level.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, Vashon Island hosted six other teams on their home course, making use of the fields and woods surrounding the schools’ campuses. Recent meets include McMurray’s contest at Charles Wright and the Curtis Invitational at Chambers Bay, along with the Pirates’ contest at Magnuson Park and at the Curtis Invitational.

Both the Mustang girls and boys teams, which include the largest turnout in history, proved to have deep benches at last Thursday’s meet at Charles Wright in University Park. Against seven other teams, the Mustangs came in third. Most if not all the Mustangs set personal bests over the 1.5-mile course.

The Mustang boys were led by the tight-knit trio of Xan London-Chambers, Christian Kincade, and Leo Ralston, finishing within 42 seconds of each other.

The Mustang girls were led by Madeline Yarkin, as the other team veterans, Alex Waterworth and Taylor Huffman, helped usher in the younger runners, including Autumn Daly in a surprising showing as the third Mustang a mere three seconds back of Waterworth.

At the Curtis Invitational last Saturday, the Pirates all set personal bests. According to Pirate Assistant Coach Lisa Cyra, the “small but mighty team of girls stuck together and all ran their personal bests for the distance, some running four minutes faster than last year on the same course.

Cyra said the boys that ran Curtis also ran their personal best, “and given this year’s strong commitment and enthusiasm, coupled with the senior mentorship of the younger runners, we have a very committed and strong boys team.”

With seasoned cross country runners coupled with young runners with talent, the boys’ team has a chance to go to state, either with a few individuals or as a team, “which reflects the core of the team’s attitude — to bring out the best in each other,” she said.

The Mustang runners at Curtis also set personal bests over the fast course. Results can be found on both teams’ websites on

Upcoming races for both teams include the large “Hole in the Wall” invitational in Arlington this coming Saturday, where island runners will get the chance to compete against the largest fields of the season, with 18 middle school teams and 123 high school teams from as far away as Alaska.

— Bruce Cyra is the McMurray Middle School Cross Country Coach.

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