Cross country: King wins state title; Oak Harbor girls grab 3rd

Coupeville's Tyler King won the state 1A cross country individual title and the Oak Harbor girls placed third in a historical effort at the state meet at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco Saturday, Nov. 6.

King led wire-to-wire in a personal best time of 15:16.9 in the 5K race and was 30 seconds faster than the 1A runner up and the third fastest overall regardless of classification.

Last fall King was fifth in 15:33 in the 4A race while competing for Oak Harbor.

Coach Eric Peterson said King hoped to go under 15 minutes, but, since he ran with "no challengers," it was difficult to meet the goal.

King blitzed through the first mile in 4:53 and was ahead by over 50 yards at the two-mile mark.

The winners of the 4A (Kenji Bierig, 15:09) and 3A (Nathan Weitz, 15:11) races were the only runners to post better times than King. Last fall Bierig topped King by one second in the 4A race.

Peterson said King has "unfinished business" and hopes to post the best Washington time in the upcoming Border Clash which features the best cross country runners from Washington and Oregon.

King is no stranger to the medal stand. Last spring he was the state 1A 1,600 and 3,200 meter champion in track.

The Oak Harbor girls team finished third in the 3A standings, the best performance ever for a Wildcat girls squad, topping the seventh-place effort of 1981. The third place also tied the 1966 boys team for the best finish ever in the Oak Harbor program.

Glacier Peak (41 points) took the title, followed by Shadle Park (102) and Oak Harbor (118).

Sophomore Christina Wicker placed 25th (19:34.4), senior Allison Duvenez 27th (19:35.8), senior Adrianna Royal 30th (19:38), junior Hannah Bressler 35th (19:46.5) and senior Abby Leete 39th (19:54.5). Junior Taylor VonGrey (80th, 20:40.9) and freshman Alex Laiblin (20:44.2) also competed in the meet with 137 runners.

All the girls ran well, Peterson said, with Bressler "having a great day."

Oak Harbor was able to snare third even though it didn't have one of the state's top runners. The Wildcats' consistency and depth proved to be their strength. Thirteen other schools had a runner finish ahead of Oak Harbor's top placer, but only Glacier Peak had their fifth best runner finish ahead of Oak Harbor's.

Peterson said, "We ran consistently what we have all year. There were only 20 seconds between our first and fifth runners."

He added that the girls know "that's the way we are going to be successful" because as a group "we are better."

Oak Harbor placed 14th in the state meet last year, and Peterson said the goal this year was to grab any place (top four) "that would get a trophy."

The Oak Harbor boys placed 16th (381) in the meet won by Spokane’s North Central (43).

It was Oak Harbor's first appearance in the state meet since 1999, and it marked just the second time (1995) that both the boys and girls qualified for state in the same year.

Junior Matt Reith finished 19th (16:14), sophomore John Kaltenbach 87th (17:21), junior Joshua Schrum 110th (17:45), senior Michael Kincy 126th (18:13), freshman Caley Powers 128th (18:18), senior Nathan Miller 134th (18:30) and sophomore Wyatt Homola 135th (18:30).

Reith's effort was remarkable, Peterson said. Reith missed two weeks this season with a back injury and the coaches' goal for him was to run in the 16:30s at state. He surpassed that mark as he passed 15 runners in the last two miles of the race, Peterson said.

Peterson said with only two of the top nine male runners graduating this year, next fall the boys hope to duplicate the girls jump for 14th to third in one year.

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