Pirate sophomore harrier Ella Yarkin found excellent conditions for her 5k race in Pasco at the state cross country championships this past Saturday, where she enjoyed the moderate temperature with a lack of wind and rain to run 23:08 over a course that had increased in difficulty over the prior year with more hills.
Yarkin, who also went to State in 2017, ran most of the season with painful and disabling shin splints, but was able to run through the pain to qualify for and run in Pasco. Her coaches say her performance while in pain speaks to her determined nature and her grit, exemplifying a Pirate motto, “no grit, no pearl.”
At the Nisqually-Chinook League Championships on Oct. 30 at Titlow Park in Tacoma, the Mustang harriers capped off a successful first season, placing teams in first and third places. Racing under pleasant skies over a varied 1.5-mile course, the Mustangs ran with many personal bests and established McMurray as a force to be reckoned with, according to the coaches from the seven other teams.
In the sixth grade race, Xan London-Chambers ran 9:07 over the 1.5-mile course to set a new middle school course record, followed by Nathan Ulrich in 5th, Neve DeVoght in 8th, Sienna Magdasy in 9th, Ava Webb in 10th, Eloise Lawrence in 11th, Forest Macnab in 13th and Alvin Burgess in 14th.
The course record did not last long when it was soon bested by eighth-grader Ben Larson in the boys’ seventh/eighth-grade race, winning in 9:01. Larson, undefeated all season, led the Mustang boys, also undefeated all season, to first place with the help of Gabe Zapf in third, Davis Rice in 8th, Hank McSheehy in 10th, Dylan Fick in 21st, Christian Kincade in 29th, Oli Nielsen in 31st, and Kean Timblin in 34th. McMurray finished with 12 points in front of Life Christian with 18, Cascade Christian with 29, Seattle Christian with 33 and Charles Wright with 34.
The girls captured third place in League on the legs of Madeline Yarkin, seventh in 10:01, Amelia Medeiros in 13th, Alexandra Waterworth in 14th and Taylor Huffman in 19th. The Mustang girls finished with 32 points behind Charles Wright Academy with six, Cascade Christian with 21, and ahead of Life Christian with 39, Seattle Christian with 55 and Cor Deo with 61. Chief Leschi, Crosspoint and Muckleshoot did not have enough runners to count in team scoring in any of the races.
Looking ahead to 2019, the Mustang boys will send three of their top five runners on to the VHS Pirates, while the young Mustang girls’ team looks forward to keeping all of its returning younger runners, who are in either the sixth or seventh grade.
— Bruce Cyra is the McMurray cross country coach.