Wednesday’s Prep Cross Country: Bearcats Run Away from Tigers
Swamp Cup Race: W.F. West Takes Team Points in Both Races but Centralia Runner Sets Girls’ Pace
By Jordan Nailon
A strong team effort out of W.F. West here today allowed the Bearcats to capture a points victory in both the girls and boys cross country races versus Centralia here at Stan Hedwall Park on Wednesday.
The boys race was won by Francisco Lima of W.F. West who finished with a time of 17:40.64 and the Bearcats also took the team points in that race by a score of 20-39. The Bearcats also claimed a team win in the girls race with a score of 25-30 but the top time actually belonged to Centralia’s Makayla Erickson who bested her competition by more than a minute at 22:12.25.
W.F. West coach Amber Cruzan said that she was encouraged by the strides her team has made since a shaky debut of their legs and lungs at the Capital Invite in Olympia last weekend.
“Massive improvement from last Saturday. That’s all we can ask for is to keep improving every meet,” said Cruzan.
The Bearcat boys actually had three of the top four finishers and seven of the top ten on Wednesday. Henry Robbins (17:42.34) came in less than two seconds behind Lima for a second place finish and William Taylor (18:44.75) placed fourth about a minute later. Rounding out the top ten for W.F. West were Nathan Briggs (19:33.88), who placed sixth, Aram Matagi (21:08.35) in seventh, Austin Pierson (21:09.76) in ninth and William Scheer (21:11.60) in tenth.
The Tigers top finisher in the boys race was Cameron Moore (18:21.28), who placed third, along with William Brown (19:07.23) in fifth place, and Noah Aliff (21:08.81) in eighth place.
Lima, a junior at W.F. West, said he enjoyed racing on his home turf for the first time this year.
“I love it honestly. There’s a lot of support from the crowd and when you’re finishing and they’re cheering you on it just feels great. It motivates you to go faster than you already are,” Lima said.
He added that he surprised himself a bit by winning the first regular season match.
“I was a bit nervous because I tried running during the summer but I was busy. But I felt great. I feel like our program is pretty good,” he said.
Lima added that freshman Henry Robbins, who finished right on his heels in second place, appears poised for a good rookie campaign.
“He’s pretty good. He’s a freshman and he’s done pretty good so far. He’s kept up with me,” said Lima.
In the girls race, Makayla Erickson, a senior at Centralia, blew the field away with a time of 22:12.25. However, the Bearcats were still able to top the Tigers in the team score thanks to three finishers in the top five and six in the top ten. W.F. West’s Xylia Warner (23:23.80) claimed second place, while her teammates Savannah Johnston (23:48.66) and Riley Johnston (24:55.58) took third and fifth, respectively.
Centralia’s Brynna Rooklidge (24.24.91) was the only other Tiger in the top five and Erickson predicts that Rooklidge will be one runner to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
“I’m really hoping that she can help to fill that gap for us,” Erickson said of Rooklidge.
As for her own dominating performance, Erickson seemed to believe she is capable of posting even better times in closer races.
“Last year I actually had someone to push myself,” Erickson said of her former Bearcat foe Emma Moon, who graduated last year. “I would get super good times because of her.”
While she was missing some of her favorite adversaries during the race there were other conditions, like the blustery weather, that actually played in her favor.
“I really like the rain. I like it when it’s coming down, and when you’re getting overheated, it’s just a little bit of mist coming down on you when you’re running,” Erickson said.
Centralia coach Steve Creel was impressed by the performance Erickson turned in and he said he expects her to continue posting first rate times as the season goes on.
“She’s very self motivated. A lot of self discipline,” said Creel. “She’s the type of runner every coach wants to coach.”
As for the rest of the returns for the Tigers on Wednesday, Creel believes there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“We have some experienced runners who did well at the front but then we had some freshman who were just learning the distance change,” said Creel, noting that high school races are about 1.5 miles longer than the middle school version. “What I emphasised with this is just to learn from each race. We want to have our peak performance at the end of the season.”
In the boys rendition of the preamble middle school races Andrew Scheer of Chehalis placed first, with Caleb Congattie of Chehalis and Antonio Garcia of Centralia placing second and third, respectively. In the girls race Morrison Netteland of Centralia placed first while Emily Wilkerson of Centralia Christian and Brooke Johnston of Chehalis finished in second and third place, respectively.
Both high school coaches said they were pleased to see positive numbers turning out on the middle school teams and noted that every runner who started the race managed to finish. Still, Cruzan noted that there are still a few days remaining to join the cross country team for the rest of the season.
“We need more. We always need more runners,” pleaded Cruzan.
W.F. West (1-0) will run again at the Fort Steilacoom Invitational on Saturday. Centralia (0-1) will host Black Hills and Aberdeen at Fort Borst Park next Wednesday.
Rochester Boys Win Dual Meet With Aberdeen
ROCHESTER — The Warrior boys were able to earn a 24-32 win over Aberdeen in an Evergreen 2A Conference cross country meet here on Wednesday.
Casey Reese was the best finisher for the Warriors, clocking in with a time of 17:15 to place second. Aberdeen’s Jordan McKinney won the race with a time of 17:10.
The Warriors had six of the top 10 runners. Seth Moceri (17:59) placed fourth, Jamison Cody (18:28) finished fifth, Levi Jennings (18:32) earned sixth and Jared Winters (18:36) took seventh. Ethan Proctor (20:06) finished 10th for Rochester.
On the girls side, Hazel Belknap was the highest Warrior finisher in third place with a time of 23:37. Gabriella Holman took fourth place with a time of 23:45 and Lizeth Rodriguez rounded out the Warriors in sixth place with a time of 24:52.
Rochester is back in action next Wednesday against W.F. West and Tumwater at Pioneer Park in Tumwater in an EvCo race.
Apperson Wins Shelton Home Meet
SHELTON — Adna’s Austen Apperson picked up his first win of the season by defeating the competition at the Shelton Home cross country meet at Lake Isabella State Park on Wednesday.
Apperson finished the two mile race in 9:59.4, more than 10 seconds faster than second place Bryce Cerkowniak of Yelm.
Matthew Scheuber finished in 19th for the Pirates with a time of 11:55. Jackson Humphrey was the other top 25 finisher for Adna, placing 21st with a time of 11:57.
Lauryn Apperson had a solid showing, finishing in seventh place for Adna with a time of 14:03.
Adna races again on Tuesday at the Fast and Flat race in Randle.