Wildcat runners are tough hosts

The Wildcat cross country team won both sides of the fourth annual Oak Harbor Invitational on Saturday at Camp Casey.

The girls team put up a perfect score as the top five runners finished ahead of La Center’s number one runner.

The top four Oak Harbor girls finished in a dead heat that was sorted out by video tape. After review, senior Leonila Celestino was declared the winner.

“It was a great tune-up for league, head coach Seth Hodges said. “All the girls are now healthy and ready to go — most of our girls set new personal bests on the course.”

Starlie Keyes had the biggest improvement, finishing 55 seconds faster than her previous best on the home course.

Two other teams scheduled to run cancelled at the last minute due to Homecoming, leaving La Center as the lone opponent. Oak Harbor’s girls had the same situation, but managed to use it as encouragement to finish quickly.

“I think more than a few of our girls were motivated to run fast so they could get ready for the Homecoming dance,” Hodges said.

Senior Chris Wichers ran by himself for the entire race and managed to break the meet record set in 2001 by Sharmarke Ali of Tyee. Wichers time of 13 minutes, 33.7 seconds beat the old record by 3.6 seconds.

Kelly Garcia, David Marriott, and Henry Vasquez finished 3-4-5 to secure the victory for the Wildcats.

“The boys are definitely ready for this week (league) and they have very good shot at a top two finish,” Hodges said.

The WesCo North cross country championships for both the boys and the girls take place this Saturday, Oct. 23 at Lakewood High School in Smokey Point.

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