For the fifth consecutive year, the Oak Harbor High School girls cross country team qualified for the state meet by placing third at the district championships at Lakewood High School Saturday, Nov. 2.
The Wildcat boys, the two-time defending district champions, had their three-year string of state trips snapped, but John Rodeheffer won the individual title.
The top three teams and the top 15 individuals earned state spots.
The Oak Harbor girls placed third in the 11-team meet with 72 points. Glacier Peak defended its team title with 43 points, and Mountlake Terrace grabbed second with 51.
The Wildcat boys finished fourth with 92 points, 27 points behind third-place Glacier Peak. Shorewood took the title with 48 points, and Mountlake Terrace scored 62 to snag second.
The weather was nasty – cold, windy and wet. In spite of the conditions, most of the Oak Harbor girls ran personal bests, according to coach Eric Peterson.
Jonalynn Horn (19:14.41) paced the Wildcats by finishing fifth. Alex Laiblin, who followed in sixth, ran a 19:27.68 even though she had to stop at one point and retreat to pick up her timing chip which fell off.
Laura Rodeheffer (15th, 20:14.49), Marisa Sligh (22nd, 21:15.83), Kaitlyn Chelberg (26th, 21:40.41), Suzanne Kaltenbach (22:15.99) and Carolynn Wicker (43rd, 22:51.75) also ran for Oak Harbor in the field of 72.
The Oak Harbor boys finished fourth, as they were seeded, and John Rodeheffer captured first after winning the Wesco 3A league meet a week earlier.
The junior ran 16:27.15, winning by 12 seconds.
He will be joined at state by Clayton Richardson, who placed 13th out of 77 in 17:28.42.
“It was a great performance from John,” Peterson said. “He has worked really heard this season and now it's paying dividends for him at the end of the season.”
Richardson collapsed at the finish line and was taken to the hospital.
“It seemed dehydration, the elements and just exhaustion all got the best of him during the race,” Peterson said.
Also running for the Wildcats were Sebastian Ceaser (21st, 17:43.87), Nathan Wagner (23rd, 17:51.01), Logan Clark (34th, 18:14.92), Miguel Guzman (50th, 19:00.74) and Dakota Powers (56th, 19:18.52).
The state finals are Saturday, Nov. 9, at Pasco’s Sun Willows Golf Course. The 3A girls run at 12:30 p.m. and the boys start at 2 p.m.