Breathless, winded and amid a sea of similarly spent runners, Sequim’s boys squad looked for answers.
The Wolves capped a memorable season with a second-place finish at the class 2A state cross country meet in Pasco on Saturday, the best performance of any Sequim cross country team at the state finals, and tied for the best finish by any SHS boys team (Sequim’s 1988 basketball squad placed second).
Despite the finish, the Wolves’ varsity squad — Mikey Cobb, Peter Ohnstad, Chris Jeffko, Brendon Despain, Jackson Oliver, CJ Daniels and Wendall Lorenzen — looked more soured than enthused. Their showdown with No. 1-ranked Sehome went the way of the Mariners, as Sehome tallied 52 team points to Sequim’s 82.
“Expectations were high,” said Jeffko, a junior who led the Wolves with an 18th place finish (16:22).
“I think maybe we were a bit optimistic,” Ohnstad said.
In a field of 141 runners and seven-man teams from 16 schools from across the state, the 2A boys’ race was all about two schools. Ranked 1-2 throughout much of the season, Sehome and Sequim separated themselves from the pack midway through the race. Led by senior Kirby Overman (eighth place), Sehome simply had Sequim’s number, packing in their top five runners in the first 21 places.
Sequim’s Cobb was 22nd (16:26), Oliver 24th (16:27), Ohnstad and Daniels 28th and 29th (16:30.5 and 16:30.7), Despain 38th (16:38) and Lorenzen 79th (17:24).
“I had the best race I’ve ever had,” Jeffko said. “I felt great. No pain. Well, some, but nothing bad.”
Liberty-Issaquah finished a distant third, with 154 team points.
Sequim coach Harold Huff said Sehome — state 2A champ for the third consecutive season and the Mariners’ sixth title since 2005 — was too tough.
“Sehome always has a great race here,” Huff said. “We had a couple of kids that came out just a little flat.”
Added Huff, “I still believe they could have won if they’d been at the top of their game.”
The second-place finish already had some Sequim runners eying 2015. While Sequim loses two to graduation in June 2015 (Cobb and Ohnstad), Sehome loses three off their state squad.
Shreffler goes 33rd
Sequim junior Waverly Shreffler placed 33rd at the event, her first foray at the state cross country meet. She’s the first female state qualifier since Audrey Lichten competed in the 2010 state 2A race.
Shreffler’s finish of 20 minutes, 2.7 seconds wasn’t what she was hoping for, she said.
“Frustrated,” Shreffler said moments after the race. “I was really hoping to break 20 (minutes). It goes by so fast.”
Senior Emily Pittis of the 2A state champ Sehome took home top honors with an 18:18 mark and Port Angeles freshman Gracie Long was 13th overall (19:27).
Shreffler said she hoped to run about 6:15 splits for her miles, but saw she’d posted a 6:06 for the first mile — too fast for her comfort.
“I saw 50 girls in front of me (soon after the start). I thought, ‘There’s no way I can pick off all of them.’ I guess I need experience.”
Sequim’s girls squad missed a state berth by one spot and potentially return all varsity runners minus senior Siana Turner.
That gives Shreffler hope she’ll have some company at state next fall.
“We’re going to do extra training over the summer,” she said. “This year being my first year, I wasn’t much of a leader. I’m going to try to get the team motivated.”