The weather for the District 7/9 regional meet in Spokane yesterday was, shall we say, crappy. Temperatures were in the low fifties. That wasn’t the issue. Wind, the bane of every runner, made itself one and carried with it some slashing rain for good measure. Since the golf course wasn’t available until 3PM (heaven forbid we get a location that will cater to the kids,) the meet didn’t start until the wind gathered itself as it always does in the afternoon in Eastern Washington.
The course itself could have used more flagging as it wound around the tees and greens. With the recent rain, the footing could be charitably described as soggy, making for some slowish times from the runners.
Girls, as usual in Washington, ran first, which turned out to be to their advantage as the wind dipped for a few minutes right as the race started. Madie Ward of St. George’s led the pack out of the gates and onto the course. The leaders tried to stay packed up as long as they could to draft off the other runners. That pack included Madie, running mate Marika Morelan, Anna Ruthven of DeSales, the freshmen duo of Carmen Eggleston and Maia Dykstra of Asotin, freshman Makayla Miller of Pomeroy, Emily Adams of Waitsburg-Prescott, and Shania Graham of Reardon. No real surprises as all these girls have been running well.
By two miles, the packs thinned to a ragged line of women. As they turned the corner for the final loop, they had a welcome chance to run in front of the wind. Ward and Morelan pulled into a solid lead, though Ruthven was eyeing them and staying in striking distance. Emily Adams, who’s been running with a ton of power for the last month looked to keep Ruthven close and fend off Asotin’s Dykstra. Asotin’s other freshman standout was fighting her own battle.
The two have traded off the lead position on the team for the last four races, with Dykstra showing a definite affinity for relatively flat golf courses, and Eggleston loving the advantage that hills give her. It doesn’t affect the team scoring, but the weekly bragging rights matter, too.
The women rounded the last green with a three hundred meter descent to the finish line. For Madie Ward, this proved to almost be too far as she struggled to close out the race. For Madie, who always attacks the race aggressively, this qualified as a shock. According to the spectators at the line (I was up on the hill cheering the remaining competitors,) she began staggering and weaving a hundred meters from the finish and collapsing at the end, ultimately getting medical attention from the paramedics. I caught up with the St. George coaches and they relayed that they were worried but cautiously optimistic. All of us hope that this is a one-off event and that she’s back strong for the state meet next weekend.
In the meantime, Marika Morelan earned the regional title with Anna Ruthven pulling in second. Ward crossed in third with Emily Adams flying in behind her. Then came the Asotin freshmen with Eggleston out-legging Graham from Reardon by a second. Pomeroy’s Makayla Miller wasn’t ceding any ground either and was hot on their heels. A pair of ladies from Northwest Christian-Colbert, Rebekah Henry and Madison Janke, closed out the top ten.
The men’s race went a little more to the scripted form. Kenneth Rooks from College place took the overall title and heads to the state meet. Behind him, last year’s runner-up, NW-C’s Jack Ammon, repeated in second. There was a tough battle between Micah Henry (NW-C) and Thomas Weakland (Asotin). Nathan Vanos from St. George’s (and as hard a worker as you’ll see) took fifth. Tyler Shea helped cement the win for Northwest Christian-Colbert with his sixth place finish. DeSales Daniel Ness took seventh and will head to state as an individual qualifier, as with Rooks. Asotin’s Eli Engledow placed eighth, the only freshman to crack the top 30. Chris Oates of Wilbur-Creston and Nathan Hopkins of Davenport closed out the top ten.
Despite grabbing three of the top five team placements, the depth of the Asotin and St. George’s squads made themselves felt. The final scores, 73, 91, 99, should concern the NW-C team. To secure a spot on the podium, they need their last two runners to step up a bit.
For any of the men’s teams, they need everyone to step up if they’re going to beat Northwest Christian-Lacey, who hung a 16 in the District 4 meet.
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