Issaquah, Skyline runners power into cross country districts
October 23, 2012
By Lillian O'Rorke
Several area runners are heading to districts after strong finishes at the Oct. 18 KingCo 4A cross country league championships.
The race to stay alive in the post season took place at West Seattle’s Lincoln Park, where 154 varsity runners vied for the top 40 finishes in the girls and boys races as only the top eight teams and top 40 individuals would qualify for the bi-district meet.
Making the cut were the Issaquah Eagles girls team, which finished in fourth place overall. Also qualifying were the Skyline Spartans boys team in sixth place and the girls team in seventh place.
Working to earn Issaquah that fourth-place finish was Cayla Seligman, who finished the 5,000 meter race in 19 minutes, 8.3 seconds to take seventh; Ellie Clawson came in 13th at 19:19.5; and Ellie Hendrickson was the 21st to cross the finish line at 19:46.6.
“It’s been a fun season. The kids have done well. They’ve all improved a lot,” Issaquah’s head coach Gwen Robertson said. “My philosophy with cross country at the end of the season is if you’re healthy and you run well, anything can happen. And I’ve seen it happen many, many times. So far, so good.”
The Issaquah boys team may have not qualified for districts but two of its runners did make the cut. Hunter Sapienza took 25th place at 16:30.3 and Kennan Schrag came in 39th with 16:49.7.
“I was really happy with my place … I’m excited and ready to try and make it to state,” said Sapienza, who, from the time the race gun sounded, had a great race. “I sprinted the first 100 meters. You really have to get out when it’s a huge meet.”
While Skyline had three runners in the top 40 on the boys side and five girls finish among the top 40 in their race, the Spartans felt they could have done better.
“It didn’t go like we were hoping for,” head coach Brendan Hyland said. “We have had a good season, but today just wasn’t our day.”
For the boys team, Keegan Symmes finished in second place at 15:32.3; Grant Uselman took 14th for Skyline with a time of 16:17.9; and Joey Nakao took 33rd with 16:35.6. For the girls, freshman Maizy Brewer was the top finisher for Skyline at 28th place with 19:58.5; Magnum Abbott took 31st with 20:03.7; Caitlin McIlwain got 35th with 20:11.0; Kathryn Steele finished 38th at 20:18.3; and Camille Lagron was right behind her in 39th place with a time of 20:21.1
It’s a tough pool of competitors, said Hyland, adding that his team is going to have to step it up next week as the field is only going to get stronger.
“There are a lot of really good KingCo and Wesco teams. And if you look at the depth, there are a lot of teams that are very quality,” he said. “So, if you are not running very good — like today we didn’t — when you go against teams like that, you’ll get pushed to the back.”
Symmes, who was two seconds shy of KingCo champion Jamie Coughlin, agreed that in a competitive pool like the one he races in, having an off day will cost you.
“It wasn’t my day today and Jamie is fast,” Symmes said. “So, between Jamie and Jonathan (Stevens, of Redmond,) and some of the other guys out there, it’s like, if you’re not on your game that day, they’ll beat you.”
Issaquah and Skyline are set to race at the Northwest Bi-District meet Oct. 27 at Lakewood High School. The varsity girls race is set to begin 12:20 p.m. and the boys kick off at 2:20 p.m. From there, the top five teams and top 25 individuals will advance to the State Championship meet.