About the only thing different in the West Central District boys’ 2A race this year was the weather.
In the end, Sequim’s boys simply dominated, racing to a second consecutive district championship behind a deep squad that placed their five top runners in the top 16 spots.
The district crown propels the No. 2-ranked Wolves to the class 2A state meet in Pasco on Nov. 8, where they’ll tangle with top-ranked Sehome and look to bring home Sequim High’s first boys team state championship.
“It’s a two-horse race,” Sequim coach Harold Huff said, “provided nobody on my team gets sick or anyone on Sehome gets sick. There are a few teams with a great runner or two, but they drop off a lot.”
Brendon Despain led the way with a sixth-place finish, crossing the 5,000-meter course in 16:24. He was followed closely by a pack of teammates: Peter Ohnstad in ninth (16:27), Chris Jeffko 10th (16:31), Jackson Oliver 14th (16:44) and Mikey Cobb in 16th (16:53). C.J. Daniels was 25th and Wendall Lorenzen was 32nd.
Despain’s mark was 61 seconds better than at last year’s wet and windy district race and Ohnstad had a 56-second improvement in this year’s dry, windless course.
“The boys finally put together a race like (assistant coach) Mike (Cobb) and I had been waiting for all year,” Huff said. “They killed it.”
Jeffko had a breakout race, improving his 2013 district time by more than a minute after suffering through an illness for much of the past three weeks of the season.
“He had an outstanding race,” Huff said. “It was out of the blue, too. He has (for) a good part of the year, been trying to get over this ailment or that ailment.”
Sequim scored 55 team points, bettering No. 5-ranked Liberty-Issaquah by 40 points. Lindbergh was third (112 team points), Franklin Pierce fourth (117), Renton fifth (137) and Sammamish sixth (172) edging out Port Angeles for the final state team berth.
Huff said he likes the Wolves’ chances for a state crown, particularly after seeing the squad run strong at districts.
“I think they’ve got a real good shot at it,” Huff said. “Good news is, all these kids have run it,” Huff said of the state course. “For most of them, this will be their third year. There is absolutely nothing these kids aren’t prepared for.”
Girls fall just short
Joining Sequim’s boys will be sophomore Waverly Shreffler, who qualified as an individual after placing eighth in the girls’ race with a 20:05 mark. Sequim’s squad placed seventh with 191 team points, one place from qualifying as a team.
“They ran really, really well; we just weren’t quite as good as some of those teams,” Huff said of the Wolves’ girls.
Shreffler qualifies for the state meet in her first year of cross country running. Huff said he likes her chances of earning a solid placing at the final.
“Our district was loaded with fast individuals,” he said. “(Waverly) was very happy with her race. She’s a very smart racer. If she has a good race at state … she will put a really good time down. She raced a lot of top girls at this race.”
Sequim’s Emily Webb was 39th at 21:55, followed by a host of teammates in the top 60: Noelle Bittner (48th, 22:18), Audrey Shingleton (51st, 22:27), Erin Vig (55th, 22:33) and Alexis Cromer (59th, 22:44). “They just ran into some really good teams,” Huff said of Sequim’s girls. “I’m not disappointed at all.”
No. 2-ranked Liberty-Issaquah took the girls’ 2A title with 35 points, followed by White River (97), Lindbergh (99), Steilacoom (126), Port Angeles (129), Renton (135) and Sequim in the 15-team field.