Sports

Riders defend home turf

Riders defend home turf

by MICHAEL DASHIELL

Sequim Gazette

One thing a cross country team needs - particularly at the end of a season - is a crew of healthy runners.

A week ago, it didn't look as if either of Sequim's crews could claim any reasonable amount of health.

Early this week, however, Sequim coach Harold Huff says the Wolves are finally all together and training. It's good timing, with the Olympic League meet slated for Thursday afternoon at The Cedars at Dungeness golf course in Sequim.

"Everybody's running - finally," Huff said Monday. "We're OK right now."

Sequim takes on the league's seven other running squads as they compete for just four West Central District meet berths, plus a handful of individual berths.

Sequim's boys get two of their top runners back this week in senior Alex Jenkins and freshman Dylan Chatters, both of whom missed last week's showdown with Port Angeles.

The Wolves look to have a full five-member girls squad when they step onto the course Thursday, even as top runner Audrey Lichten comes back from an illness.

"Everyone else except Adrian (Clifford) and Joel (Christopher) had the crud," Huff said.

In the final warm-up before the league meet, Port Angeles took advantage of Sequim's depleted lineups to sweep an Oct. 13 meet.

Despite missing two varsity runners, Sequim swept the top individual placings. Clifford and Christopher finished in a virtual tie for first on the boys' side.

"We would have beat P.A.," Huff said. "(Adrian and Joel) weren't even gassed at the end."

Lichten edged Alison Maxwell by less than half a second for the win, but Sequim had just eight girls out for the meet, not enough to qualify for a team score.

Huff knows it's going to be a battle for those top four district berths this week. On the boys' side, North Kitsap, Olympic and Kingston look like possible locks for the top three spots, with Sequim, Port Angeles and Klahowya battling for that final fourth berth.

"There are really good teams in our league this year," Huff said. "Olympic has come on like gangbusters; they're a real solid team. It's going to be real hard to get in the top four in the 2A (ranks)."

The Wolves will be familiar with the league course. The Cedars at Dungeness offers rolling hills with a few patches of terrain on concrete and most on grass and gravel.

"What I like about (the course) is that it's similar to district course," Huff said. "That's what they should do - pick a course similar to districts, so teams know what to expect. And it's reasonably viewer friendly."

Top teams and runners from the league meet advance to the West Central District meet on Saturday, Oct. 30, at American Lake Golf Course in Tacoma.

The state 2A meet is set for Nov. 6 in Pasco.

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.

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