Vashon High School’s Pirate harriers ran in two cross-country races this past week — hosting their own home meet in the fields and forests of the island schools on Tuesday, Oct. 3, then traveling to the large Hole in the Wall Invitational at Lakewood.
At home under sunny skies, the Pirates gave a warm island welcome to four other teams, and came in second place to Charles Wright Academy. The Pirates beat Bellevue Christian, Cascade Christian and Seattle Christian. The girls’ team was again led by team captain Lucy Boyle, with Ella Yarkin, Ellie Lande, Isabelle Spence and Simone Newcomb rounding out the scoring top five. The race marked the first time this season the girls’ team raced with a full five scorers. The boys’ team was also led by its consistent top racer, Gianno Waller, followed by Cole Parks, Hunter Justis, Garrett Mueller and Sam Knight, with team captain Theo Hu and Simon Clark rounding out the top seven varsity squad.
While Bellevue Christian placed its top three runners ahead of Vashon’s top three, the Pirates were able to assure victory by placing its top seven ahead of Bellevue’s fifth runner.
Meanwhile, Vashon’s middle school harriers set personal bests in the open 2-mile race, with Gabe Zapf running 13:07, Tyler Huffman running 15:18, and Tori Hu running 18:19.
On Saturday, Oct. 7, the Pirates headed to the large and electric Hole in the Wall Invitational hosted by Lakewood High School near Arlington. The competition is fierce, as there are 93 teams from as far away as California in the races, running on what is considered a fast course. The course proved its reputation, with eight Vashon runners setting personal bests, and another four setting season bests. In the girls race, freshman Yarkin recovered from being tripped by another runner and falling in the first 100 meters, to get up and finish with a personal best time of 21:29 over 5 kilometers. Following her was Boyle with a season best time of 21:41 and Lande in a time of 24:11. In the boys’ races, Waller set a season best and led the Pirates with a time of 18:33 over 5 kilometers. He was followed by Parks with a personal best time of 18:49, Mueller with a season best 19:55, Clark with a personal best 20 minutes, Jake Hannah with a personal best 20:09, Hu with a time of 20:12, and rounding out the top seven was Sam Knight with a season best time of 20:18.
Luke Stephanick improved his previous personal best by 40 seconds, making Hole in the Wall the fastest race of his career and stopping the clock at 20:28.
The island’s middle schoolers also set personal bests at the meet, with Zapf running the 5-kilometer course in 20:36 and Tori Hu taking 31 minutes to cover the course.
Feeling like the team is making great improvements over the season and from years past, coaches Laura Johnson and Lisa Cyra are taking the Pirates into the final phase of their season and preparing for a race against eight other teams in an Emerald City meet at Lake Sammamish State Park tomorrow, Thursday. This last regular-season meet will help get the Pirates ready for their league championships meet next Thursday at Fort Steilacoom.
— Bruce Cyra is an island runner and Vashon High School cross-country fan.