McMurray Middle School and Vashon Island High Schools took advantage of a break in the thunderstorms last Tuesday, Oct. 8, to host eight other teams on their home course. The local community provided a large turnout of enthusiastic family, fans and school employees.
The Mustang boys captured first place for the first time this season, while Pirate captain Ella Yarkin placed first in the high school girls 5k race. The Yarkin family provided much of the island’s running firepower in the four races, as Yarkin’s younger sister, Madeline, was the first Mustang over the 1.6 mile course, leading the girls team to third place.
Both the boys and girls Mustangs proved that in cross country, a team does not need a star runner to do well in a meet. As in the boys race, there were four teams with runners across the line before the first Mustang. However, the deep Mustang bench ran well, tightly bunched, with the top seven Mustangs pushing the other teams further up in points in what is called displacement. Mustang boys were paced by Xan London-Chambers and Christian Kincade in a dead heat, followed closely by Leo Ralston.
The girls team also proved to have a deep bench finishing in third place, with six Mustangs across the line before Cor Deo’s first, and eight across before Cascade Christian’s first runner. Following Yarkin were Alex Waterworth and Autumn Daly.
The Pirates men took third in the home meet, led by Sean Robertson, Ben Larson and Ursa Medeiros.
On Saturday, Oct. 12, the teams traveled to the “Hole in the Wall” invitational, one of the largest meets in Washington, with over 120 high schools and 19 middle schools.
The Mustangs were led by Oli Neilsen in the boys’ 1.7 mile race, and again by Madeline Yarkin in the girls race.
The Pirate men were led by Ben Larson, Ursa Medeiros and Cole Hartness, with Larson setting a personal best of 18 minutes and 49 seconds over the 5k course. The Pirate women were again led by Madeline’s sister, Ella, in a personal best of twenty minutes and 56 seconds.
In the coming weeks, the Mustangs prepare for League Championships on Oct. 22, and the Pirates prepare for District Championships on Nov. 2, hoping to qualify runners for the state championships.
— Bruce Cyra is the McMurray Middle School cross country coach.