By BRUCE CYRA
For The Beachcomber
Last Saturday, the morning fog enshrouded the Chambers Bay cross-country course, then lifted to turn the day sunny and warm, which brought smiles and brightened the spirits of West Central District cross country racers and supporters. The bright yellow singlets of the Vashon Pirates’ cross-country team followed the sun’s example, bringing smiles and high spirits as the teams raced to three individual berths in this weekend’s state championships in Pasco.
Leading the Pirates to State was senior Gianno Waller, who ran to a season best 17:54 to finish in ninth place; the team finished in fifth. In the girls race, the Pirates were led by freshman Ella Yarkin, who came in seventh and junior Lucy Boyle, who finished in 11th. The three will travel to Pasco for Saturday’s state championships. This is Waller’s second trip to State, as he ran there as a sophomore; joining him that year was Boyle, so this will be her second trip as well.
Waller, Yarkin and Boyle ran tactically smart by placing themselves in the lead chase pack from the very start, making sure that they were within the top 14 runners that would advance to State. Over the next two miles of the 5K race, they successfully defended their positions and moved up through the field to make sure they made the cut. Waller’s season-best mark was remarkable in that the course at Chambers Bay was considered at least half a minute slower than other courses.
Another surprise in the races included sophomore Jake Hannah, fifth on the team, running a gutsy race that would have been a personal record on any other course. The Pirate boys will lose three of their top seven runners to graduation in June, including senior team captain Theo Hu. The Pirate girls expect to return all five of their varsity finishers next year.
— Bruce Cyra is fan of the cross country team.