At season’s end, the friendly rivals from the North Olympic Peninsula wound up where they’d been racing all season: practically back-to-back, and among the state’s fastest.
Sequim sophomore Riley Pyeatt, the West Central District champ, raced to a sixth-place finish at the state 2A cross country meet at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pacso on Nov. 9.
Pyeatt, who led a quartet of Wolves at the state finals, finished the hilly 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes, 46 seconds — improved her state meet best by seven places and nearly a minute (19:35) from her freshman effort in 2018.
“I feel like I improved by a lot; the course felt easier in a way,” Pyeatt said.
“Last year I felt I was struggling on it,” she said, but the training in between — much of it focused on seepd work via 800-meter intervals — helped improve that time.
She placed one back of Port Angeles junior Lauren Larson, who clocked in at 18:41 for fifth place overall and helping the Roughriders take ninth place as a team.
“It’s a good rivalry,” Pyeatt said. “We compete on the course, but off the course we’re still really good friends.”
Pyeatt’s teammates Anastasia Updike and Jessica German saw their first state meet action Saturday. Updike, a freshman, finished in a personal-best 22:23 to place 119th overall while German, a junior, was 136th, finishing in 23:03.
Pyeatt was the second-fastest 2A girl underclassmen at the state meet; only Ellensburg sophomore Kate Laurent (fourth, 18:38) had a better overall finish.
“I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite course — it’s pretty hilly one,” Pyeatt said of the Pasco 5k.
“I think favorite was districts (at Chambers Creek Properties in University Place, one week prior), because it was really fast.”
Sequim junior Eli Gish was the Wolves’ lone boys state competitor, finishing 150th overall in 18:14 in his second state meet; he qualified with the Wolves’ team as a freshman in 2017.
Led by senior state champ Leah Holmgren (18:16), Ellensburg won the 2A girls title with 83 points, topping runner-up Bellingham (102 points).
On the boys’ side, perennial powerhouse Sehome won the team title with Steilacoom in second. Port Angeles’ boys took 12th. Pullman senior Eliason Kabasenche won boys’ 2A state title in 15:23.