Issaquah, Liberty runners place in top 10 at state

November 8, 2011

By Bob Taylor

Sarah Bleisner (520), Liberty High School freshman, comes in just ahead of sophomore teammate Megan Larson, helping the Patriots to an eighth-place finish at the 3A state cross country championship Nov. 5 in Pasco. By Don Borin/www.donborin.con

Talented and young, the Issaquah and Liberty high school girls cross country teams showed great promise for the future when they finished among the top 10 teams at the state championships Nov. 5 in Pasco.

Issaquah, in the state meet for the first time in 13 years, finished 10th among the Class 4A teams.

Liberty, in the state meet for the second straight year, finished eighth among the Class 3A teams.

Issaquah, which had five freshmen on its team, finished the 4A meet with 274 points. The Eagles had the second-highest finish for a KingCo Conference 4A team. Redmond was third with 100 points. Tahoma won the state title with 88 points and Bellarmine Prep came in second with 99 points.

“We finished just about where I thought we should have been,” Issaquah coach Gwen Robertson said. “I was hoping for a top 10 finish and that’s where we were. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect. The girls all performed very well.”

Senior Rachel Osgood was Issaquah’s top runner, finishing 32nd on the Sun Willows Golf Course in a time of 19 minutes, 17.4 seconds. Ellie Clawson was next for Issaquah in 42nd with a time of 19:27.5. Rounding out the Eagles’ top five were Cayla Seligman, 100th in 20:19.3; Ellie Hendrickson 112th in 20:27.8; and Emily Winterstein, 113th in 20:28.1. All will return next season along with freshman Abby Wilson and sophomore Amanda Chalfant, who finished 118th and 121st.

“I am pleased that they got to see what state is all about. Hopefully they will go back next year when all the mystery is gone,” Robertson said. “It was pretty exciting for them. I think it could get them pretty motivated for the future.”

Skyline had one runner in the girls’ state meet — Samantha Krahling, who finished 55th in 19:36.

The Liberty girls entered the state meet after winning a second straight Sea-King District 3A title. The Patriots finished eighth with 225 points. KingCo 3A rival Mercer Island was seventh with 199 points. Camas won the 3A state title with 58 points.

“I am not unhappy with eighth,” Liberty coach Michael Smith said. “Last year when we went to state, we were just happy to get there. This year, the girls really wanted to get fourth. However, that meant everyone running perfect. We had three girls who ran outstanding races, but we had four others that ran well but not at their best.”

Junior Allie Wood, a standout softball player, was Liberty’s top placer at state. Wood finished 27th in 19:27.9. Freshman Sarah Bliesner was 43rd in 19:47.7 and sophomore Megan Larson was 44th in 19:49.9.

Rounding out the Patriots’ top five were junior Megan Chucka, 94th in 20:36.5; and sophomore Amy Broska, 101st in 20:47.1. Junior Rachel Shaw was 102nd in 20:49.6. The only senior on the team was Aimee Christensen, who finished 133rd.

“I think the girls see the possibilities, that if they all run well together on the same day, they could be up there on the trophy stand next year,” Smith said.

In the Class 4A boys meet, Skyline finished 12th. Keegan Symmes was Skyline’s top placer, taking 12th in 15:37.5. Following Symmes were teammates Kevin Tidball, 86th in 16:45.2; Jay Bowlby, 94th in 16:50.3; Grant Uselman, 102nd in 16:57.9; and Joey Nakao, 114th in 17:06.6. Rounding out the team were Brendan Long, 121st, and Jamon Rogers, 135th.

Gig Harbor won the team title with 55 points. Garfield was the highest placing KingCo 4A team, taking sixth.

In the 3A boys meet, Liberty’s Hiron Redman finished 76th in 16:54.1. Immediately after the race, Redman had another appointment.

“He left to play in a hockey game,” Smith said. “I guess he is a pretty good hockey player.”

Redman was the only Liberty boy at the state meet.

North Central won the team title with 59 points.

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