The Mustang and Pirate cross country teams had successful races this past week as they both head for their league championships — the Mustangs on Oct. 21 at Titlow Park in University Place, and the Pirates on Oct. 23 at Fort Steilacoom.
In a preview of how the Mustangs should do at the championships, the boys and girls won the team scores at Titlow Park on Tuesday, Oct. 12 — the boys with a near-perfect score in their rout of four other schools with 17 points — the next closest team scored 79.
The Mustangs placed seven harriers in the first eight spots over the 1.5-mile course, scoring Bodie Thomas, Harrison Decker, Josh Healey, Cash Nowicki, and Brent Calhoun, with support from Briar Guenther and Oliver Bresnik.
In cross country, the low score wins, with the top five runners from each team scoring by their place; in addition, the team’s sixth and seventh runners are able to displace the other team’s runners, forcing their score even higher, which is why it is so important to have depth on a team — meets can be won by having strong sixth and seventh runners.
Following the top seven in were eleven more Mustangs, nearly all setting personal bests for the distance. The Mustang girls won their race with 24 points to Annie Wright’s 39 and Seattle Christian’s 64. The Mustang-scoring top five were Cecilia Guenther in second, Emily Harrington in fourth, Katherine Thompson in fifth, Daisy Jones in seventh and Sophia Lanphear in tenth. This race marked surprise breakout performances by sixth-grader Thompson, improving her prior best over 1.5 miles by two and a half minutes, and seventh-grader Lanphear in her season debut. Eight more Mustang girls followed, foreshadowing another year of league team champions for the Mustangs.
The Pirates traveled to Klahowya High School in Silverdale last Thursday for their pre-league preview, running against the same teams they will see this coming Thursday. The Pirates were again led by captains Levi Blasingim and Madeline Yarkin, with the boys team finishing fifth out of eight teams and the girls placing third out of four teams — this race was the first time the girls’ team had a full five runners in a race this season. Over three miles of cross country that was more akin to Vashon’s home course, involving hills, muddy trails and tricky rooty footwork, most Pirates set personal bests as the three-mile distance is rarely run.
Blasingim led his fellow Pirates Hank McSheehy, Christian Kincade, Tyler Huffman, Bishop Townsend, Dylan Fick and Caleb Guadamuz. Captain Yarkin led her team of Atticus Spence, Lilja Bjarnason, Taylor Huffman and Isa Blankenship in besting Annie Wright and three other schools that did not have enough runners to make a full team.
The Pirates will spend part of their week practicing and preparing for the annual pie-eating contest at their league championships, in hopes of returning the honors back to Vashon Island.