Cross country: Wolves dominate second home meet SLIDESHOW

Sequim takes on top runners at Saturday's Bellevue invite

Different course, same results.

For Sequim’s second home Olympic League meet of the season — and the second in as many weeks — coaches switched up the traditional course, winding runners along a horse trail and extending the length to nearly a 5,000-meter race. The changes mattered little, as both Sequim boys and girls varsity squads swept league foes Olympic and North Kitsap on Sept. 23, as they did a week previous against Bremerton and North Mason.

On the girls’ side, Waverly Shreffler cruised to an individual win in 21:09 and teammate Audrey Shingleton (23:18) was third, helping Sequim tally 26 team points to out-pace Olympic (47) and North Kitsap (53).

By one-third of the way through the race, Shreffler — who was battling a cold at last week’s race — was running on her own, pulling away from Shingleton and runner-up Anneli Seaberg of North Kitsap.

“Every runner has their own technique (when running solo),” Shreffler said. “I force myself to be positive. ‘I’m tired. I’m sick.’ I just tell myself, ‘You can do it.’”

SHS sophomore Kiara Pierson, new to the squad, raced to a fifth-place finish, edging teammate Elizabeth Rosales at the finish with both at 24:01. Noelle Bittner (26:28) was 11th, and fellow Sequim racers Mia Steben (26:59), Emily Webb (27:01) and Alexis Cromer (27:05) going 13th, 14th and 15th.

As strong as the finish was for Sequim’s girls, the state No. 2-ranked Sequim boys had a relatively easier time, tallying 20 team points to top Olympic (38) and North Kitsap (72).

SHS seniors Brendon Despain and Jackson Oliver and freshman Ash Francis led from start to finish, holding hands at the end for a near-photo finish. The three finished with nearly identical 17:35 finishes, with Despain taking the official win followed by Francis and Oliver.

Several Wolves noted they have a bit of home course advantage, training on the rugged hills at Robin Hill Park that are unlike most of the courses in the Olympic League.

“When it comes to the hills, definitely,” Despain said.

He said the Wolves put in a lot of time working on inclines, with one particularly grueling session going up the familiarly monikered “Death Hill” 13 or 14 times in about 40 minutes.

The training, Despain noted, has a purpose: to help Sequim overcome all teams at the state 2A meet for the school’s first cross country team championship.

“Everything we’re doing now is directed toward November,” he said.

Sequim senior C.J. Daniels was sixth overall in 18:26, with Wendall Lorenzen (18:52) in eighth and Christian Ash in ninth (19:02).

SHS senior Bryce Dryke replaced injured Chris Jeffko in the varsity lineup and took 19th in 21:29.

“A couple of kids were stiff (but) overall we did pretty good,” Sequim head coach Harold Huff said. “I’m pretty happy with where we’re at.”

Battling in Bellevue

Sequim went up against some of the top runners from some of the biggest schools in the state at Saturday’s Bellevue Invitational, which broke out races into pairs from each school by ranking; the top two runners from each school competed, then runners three and four, etc.

On the girls’ side, Sequim’s Shreffler took 19th in 19:28 and Shingleton was 57th with a 21:33 finish; Holy Names standout Jordan Oakes won in 17:56.

Francis led Sequim’s boy in individual placing, racing to a fourth-place effort in the 3-4 race with a 16:39 finish, 25 seconds behind Ronan Price (16:14) of Eisenhower; teammate Chris Jeffko (17:27) was 28th in the same race.

In the boys’ 1-2 race, Despain was 11th overall in 16:15, just four seconds behind top 2A finisher Ethan Green of Ephrata. Sequim’s Oliver wasn’t far behind, finishing the 5,000 meters in 16:32, good for 21st place. In the 5-6 race, Daniels was 18th with a 17:38 finish while Lorensen was 29th with a 17:52 mark.

Looking ahead

Sequim takes on Klahowya and hosts Kingston on Sept. 30. The Wolves complete their league schedule with an Oct. 7 race at Port Townsend against Port Angeles and host Port Townsend.

After competing in the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational in Lakewood on Oct. 10, Sequim hosts the Oct. 22 Olympic League meet at The Cedars at Dungeness golf course.

Sequim boys 1st, girls 2nd at middle school meet

Sequim’s Timberwolves saw their boys race to a first-place finish and girls take second as they took on Stevens (Port Angeles) and Blue Heron (Port Townsend) middle schools on Sept. 23.

Racing on a 2,400-meter course at Robin Hill County Park, Sequim’s boys — led by individual winner Reid Parker (8:17) — took five of the top nine places to score 23 team points, out-racing Stevens (48) and Blue Heron (57).

Ryan Tolberd (8:30) was third, Mike McAleer (8:37) fourth, Adrian Funston (8:55) sixth and Dallin Despain ninth (9:16) for Sequim.

On the girls’ side, Ella Holland and Emilia Long went 1-2 to lead Stevens to a win with 17 team points, while Sequim was second with 42 points and, with just one competitor, Blue Heron didn’t score.

Abby Schroeder was Sequim’s top racer, completing the course in 9:31 to place fourth. Sequim’s Vita Olson (11:02) was eighth and Emma Sharp (11:07) was ninth.