Schrag, Clawson solidify status as Eagles’ top runners
October 22, 2013
By Neil Pierson
Their teams haven’t had the type of season they were hoping for, but Issaquah High School runners Kennan Schrag and Ellie Clawson aren’t being deterred from their individual goals.
Schrag, a sophomore, topped the boys field, and Clawson, a junior, won the girls race when Issaquah squared off with Skyline and Newport in an Oct. 16 KingCo Conference cross country race at Bellevue’s Kelsey Creek Park.
In the boys race, Issaquah fell short of rival Skyline, which captured the team win with 34 points. However, the Eagles (48 points) won a tiebreaker and defeated Newport for their second win of the season.
Issaquah’s top three runners set the pace for the first half of the 3.1-mile race. Schrag, fellow sophomore Jacob Brueckman, and senior Caleb Walin got out quickly and formed their own pack.
“I was hoping that the other guys would be up there, too, so I was kind of worried if I was going out too fast when I didn’t see any of them the first mile,” Schrag said. “But it turned out all right, I guess, and it looks like the team did pretty well.”
Schrag ended up pulling away to a first-place time of 16 minutes, 57 seconds, defeating runner-up James Hamilton, of Newport, by 22 seconds. Walin held on for fifth place in 17:23, and Brueckman was ninth in 17:44.
Schrag ran at Kelsey Creek Park for the first time, and said there were several factors that contributed to a relatively slow race. His personal best time is 16:33, and he posted a mark of 16:35 four days earlier at the Hole in the Wall Invitational in Arlington.
“It was a tough course — there was a bunch of gravel, for one, and then the hill twice,” he said. “The gravel obviously slows us down, but then the competition wasn’t very dense in the front.”
Schrag said he was looking forward to the Oct. 24 KingCo championships at Lincoln Park in Seattle, when the pressure ratchets up. For many runners and teams, their seasons will end.
“I think we can get the team to at least districts, and maybe one or two of us to state,” Schrag said.
Brendan Long led Skyline to the team victory, placing third in 17:20. Teammate Joey Nakao was sixth in 17:25, but had to be helped from the course at the finish line with what appeared to be a leg injury.
The Spartans placed their seven varsity runners in the top 12. Tennyson Hainsworth was seventh (17:35) and Ryan Abrahamsen was eighth (17:40).
Clawson reached a milestone at the Hole in the Wall event, which featured some of the top athletes from around the state.
“I got a personal best, and I finally broke 19 (minutes), so that was nice,” she said.
Although she was running on a slower course at Kelsey Creek Park, which showed in her winning time of 19:59, she had no problem taking charge. She surged to a comfortable lead in the first quarter-mile and kept widening it from there. Skyline senior Alex Daugherty was the runner-up in 20:23.
Issaquah’s girls improved their dual-meet record to 1-5 as they outscored Newport 51-55. Junior Ellie Hendrickson was eighth (21:11) and junior Abby Wilson was 10th (21:24).
Clawson is a two-time Class 4A state qualifier, and she’s in line to improve upon her previous two finishes if she turns in another sub-19 effort. The state meet is Nov. 9 at Pasco’s Sun Willows Golf Course.
“I really want my team to be with me, but we’ll see,” Clawson said. “A lot of the girls are seniors and juniors, but we do have quite a few underclassmen.”
Skyline’s girls are shooting to return to Pasco as one of the state’s top-16 squads, and their performance at the Hole in the Wall Invitational indicated they may be ready to do it. The Spartans were sixth overall, and trailed only Bellarmine Prep and Roosevelt among the 4A teams in attendance.
Sophomore Maizy Brewer has consistently been among Skyline’s top runners this season. Brewer placed third at Kelsey Creek Park in 20:24, and said the Hole in the Wall run might be the equivalent of a postseason race.
“That’s definitely a good race to gauge where you are in comparison,” Brewer said. “We thought it was a good race. It was hard. There were a lot of corners, so it was kind of slow, but we were really proud of ourselves as a team and how we stacked up.”
Skyline’s girls scored 25 points to defeat Issaquah and Newport. The Spartans had seven runners inside the top-12, including McKenzie Deutsch (fifth, 20:44) and Caitlin McIlwain (sixth, 20:48).