Cross country: SHS squads race to district berths

With a respite in the rainy weather at last week’s Olympic League meet, Sequim’s cross country squads ran themselves into another weekend of racing.

Only Klahowya, 1A school from Silverdale, was deep enough to keep Sequim’s boys from repeating as league champions, while the Wolves’ girls edged league foe Olympic for the fifth and final berth at the West Central District meet set for Oct. 28 at Chambers Creek in Tacoma.

“I’m reasonably happy with the effort,” Sequim coach Harold Huff said of his Wolves squads.

“Klahowya’s just got a good team, not to take anything away from them,” Huff said. “(Sequim’s boys) had a good one today.”

The Eagles finished with 47 team points, with Sequim the top 2A team at 62 points, followed by North Kitsap (69), 1A school Port Townsend (99) and Port Angeles (115).

Murray Bingham led a strong contingent of Sequim boys with a sixth place individual finish, clocking in at 17:22. The mark is about 40 seconds off Bingham’s finish at the same meet in 2016, but significant course changes saw the addition of numerous hairpin turns.

“And Murray’s been injured,” Huff said. “It’s affected him but he’s not complaining.”

A trio of Sequim runners locked up spots 11-13, with Liam Byrne coming in at 17:40, Alec Shingleton in 17:41 and Jazen Bartee at 17:44. Eli Gish rounded out Sequim’s scorers with a 20th place finish in 17:56. Sequim’s Jakob Pyeatt was 55th (19:43).

Byrne, one of Sequim’s strong junior class — the Wolves’ top four runners last week are juniors — trimmed 24 seconds off his league effort from 2016. He said his improvement has come from running with Bingham in practice.

“It’s a good team; we’re all friends,” Byrne said.

While Huff said he wasn’t pleased with the changes to the league course, Byrne enjoyed it.

“I loved it; the elevation change (was) very little, no major downhills and we stayed off the concrete for the most part, which is nice.”

SHS junior Kaitlin Viada was the top finisher for a Sequim girls’ team that placed sixth overall, fifth among 2A schools, with a 24th place and 22:52 effort.

Sequim freshman Jessica German was 35th (23:58) and sophomore Vita Olson took 39th (24:13). SHS’s Nathalie Arreguin (57th, 26:18) and Emily Silva (58th, 26:45) rounded out Sequim’s scorers.

Olson, who said she’s been dealing with a couple of stress fractures in her left foot for a good part of the season, said she and other team members were surprised at the fact they were able to advance to districts after a large turnover from last year’s team. (Top runner Morgan Bingham graduated while Kiara Pierson and Noelle Bittner did not run this fall.)

“We lost a lot of people and that made a big difference (but) we achieved our goal,” Olson said. “I’m incredibly happy we did.”

See photos from the league meet here.

Looking ahead

The West Central District meet is set for Saturday, Oct. 28, at Chambers Creek Properties in Tacoma.

In 2016, Sequim’s boys raced to a second-place finish behind Lindbergh at the Westside Classic district meet at American Lake Veterans Golf Course in Tacoma. Sequim’s Ash Francis, who since transferred out of district, won the district title while Murray Bingham placed third and Shingleton was 19th, Byrne 22nd and Bartee was 23rd.

Sequim’s girls placed fourth at districts in 2016, with Morgan Bingham placing eighth, Pierson taking 10th and Viada finishing 42nd.

Byrne said Sequim’s boys team is looking to race to a top team score at districts next week.

“I don’t think it’s out of reach,” he said.

Huff said if Sequim’s boys race to their potential, advancing to the state 2A meet — slated for Nov. 4 in Pasco — is likely.

“It depends on which team shows up; if they run a good race, they’ll make state easily,” he said.

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