Sports

SHS boys race to Seaside victory

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In one season, Allison Cutting improved her Seaside Three-Course Challenge time by about 45 seconds and moved from third place to second.

Perhaps that's because she was able to keep her shoes on this time.

While Cutting, the reigning state 2A cross country champ, was doing her best to make it through Seaside's famed mud pit with her shoes, Sequim's boys were knocking the socks off the competition as they took first place in division III (small schools) at Saturday's races in Seaside, Ore.

"The boys were outstanding," Sequim coach Harold Huff said. "They ran a lot faster than we anticipated."

Alex Jenkins and Drake Apablasa helped lead the charge by finishing 16th and 26th respectively on the 5,500-meter moderate course.

Adrian Clifford (31st), Colby Robb (37th) and Tyler Wilson-Walters (54th) each finished with strong times on the six-kilometer difficult course - a race featuring 500 runners - while Joel Christopher and Joe Dapcevich gave Sequim top-80 finishes on the "easy" 5,000-meter course.

Sequim finished with 284 team points (low score wins), easily outpacing small school runner-up The Dalles-Wahtonka by 188 points. Longview school's R.A. Long was third, 362 points back. Division II featured 14 competing schools.

Huff said it's the best he's seen Sequim's boys perform at the Seaside race, a premier prep cross country event that featured 95 schools this year - 55 from Oregon, 38 from Washington and two from California.

Despite not having enough to score as a team, Sequim's girls got strong performances from their mostly new lineup, including a big improvement from senior Taylor Roads.

And then there was Cutting, who ran the final half-mile of the 2008 race sans shoes when hers were sucked into the mud near the finish.

"We thought about taping (my shoes)," Cutting said. "But there was a lot more water this year (in the pit)."

Cutting said she was encouraged after the race considering this was just her second race of the season and second in a year; a hip flexor injury and asthma kept her out of racing for nearly 12 months.

"It was definitely exciting and a confidence booster," Cutting said. "(It's been) a bit nerve-wracking not knowing where I stand with most of the runners."

She'll find out this week when Sequim takes on North Kitsap, the No. 4-ranked 3A team in the state, and Kingston, featuring rival Ruby Roberts.

Huff said he expects North Kitsap to be strong on both sides but he's interested to see how well Sequim's boys match up with the Vikings' boys, ranked No. 6 in the state 3A polls.

"This (meet) makes the other league meets look like a cakewalk," Huff said.



How sweet a sweep is

The Wolves' boys squad swept all five top spots while Cutting, the defending state 2A champ, took first place overall at an Olympic League meet in Bremerton featuring Sequim, Klahowya and the host Knights.

Jenkins and Clifford finished with identical 14:35 marks while Apablasa was third (14:37), Robb was fourth (14:41) and Wilson-Walters took fifth (14:44).

Apablasa improved his 2008 time on the same course by more than a minute; Brogan Cays (15:35, 13th overall) saw an improvement of more than two minutes from 2008.

Sequim's girls finished in a virtual tie for second with Bremerton at 47 points behind meet winner Klahowya.

Cutting beat the field with a 15:58 finish, less than a week after paying a recruiting visit to Boston College. Roads finished third with an 18:32 finish, about two-and-a-half minutes faster than her time on the same course last season.



Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.

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