Issaquah cross country team qualifies for first state meet in 13 years

November 1, 2011

By Bob Taylor

Some people maintain 13 is an unlucky number. However, they would have trouble convincing this fall’s Issaquah High School girls cross country team of that fact.

By placing fourth Oct. 29 at the Wes-King Bi-District 4A meet at West Seattle’s Lincoln Park, the Eagles qualified for a state meet for the first time in 13 years.

To put it into a different perspective, some current members of the team were just 2 years old when the Eagles last sent a girls team to the state championship meet.

Issaquah will race in the Class 4A state meet Nov. 5 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

Leading the pack is senior Rachel Osgood, who finished 10th at the district meet. Of the remaining six runners on the varsity team, five are freshmen. Some had never run a 5K until this fall.

“Some of these kids didn’t even think they could run that far,” Issaquah coach Gwen Robertson said. “But some of them were good runners in middle school and they figured out how to race a 5K, which is unusual for ninth-graders. Then this is a pretty mature group.”

Issaquah finished with 136 points to qualify for state. The top five teams all advanced along with the top 25 individuals. Redmond, which won the KingCo Conference 4A title the previous week, won the Wes/King title with 72 points.

Snohomish, a member of the Western Conference, was second with 91 points. Jackson, also from Wesco, was third with 92. Stanwood, another Wesco team, grabbed the fifth and final spot with 155 points. Skyline was sixth with 165 points.

The fourth-place finish was Issaquah’s best at district since 1998, when the Eagles took third.

Osgood had her best race of the season, running the 5K in a personal best time of 19 minutes, 6 seconds.

“She had an amazing month in October,” Robertson said. “She has really come on strong. She didn’t run that much in the summer, but she knows how to push herself.”

Osgood showed at district that she is an intelligent runner, finding ways to maneuver through the pack.

“At the mile mark, she was 31st. She just worked her way up,” Robertson said.

Issaquah’s next two runners were freshmen Ellie Clawson, who was 24th in 19:29, and Cayla Seligman, who was 28th in 19:39. Rounding out Issaquah’s top five were freshmen Ellie Hendricksen, 40th in 20:08, and Abby Wilson, 41st in 20:09. Emily Winterstein, another freshman, was 44th in 20:12. Sophomore Amanda Chalfant, who came in 75th in 21 minutes, completed the Issaquah team.

Both Clawson and Winterstein were ill last week, but persevered at the district meet.

“The freshmen girls have been an interesting group. What has been impressive to me is how they approach each race in an intelligent way. They are very good at analyzing a course,” Robertson said.

It has been a historic season for the young Issaquah team. The previous week at the KingCo 4A championships, Issaquah took second, its best finish in 13 years. The 89 points was Issaquah’s lowest total in 13 years. It was also the first time five runners finished in the top 25 in 13 years.

So 13 certainly has not been an unlucky number this season.

In addition at the KingCo meet, no Issaquah freshman girl had qualified for district in 10 years. The Eagles had five freshmen qualify for district this time.

“It has been a fun season. This group of girls is so consistent,” Robertson said. “They train real well together.”

Issaquah’s team would have been even stronger this fall except senior Nicole Migotsky got injured and has been unable to run.

“But she has been there all the time to support her teammates,” Robertson said.

The overall individual winner at district was Woodinville’s Chandler Olson, who finished in 18:12.

Skyline’s top runner was Samantha Krahling, who finished 12th in 19:17. Haley Smith was next for the Spartans, placing 27th in 19:38.

In the boys meet, Skyline qualified for state when the Spartans finished second with 125 points. Henry Jackson, of the Western Conference, was first with 93 points. Skyline’s Keegan Symmes took second in 15:46. Kevin Tidball was next for Skyline, placing 24th in 16:22. Rounding out the Spartans’ top five were Jay Bowlby, 30th in 16:30; Grant Uselman, 33rd in 16:35; and Joey Nakao, 47th in 16:51.

Ballard’s Alex Bowns was first in 15:34.

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