ELLENSBURG – At the start of the season, Oroville cross country coach was hopeful that he would have enough girls on the team to challenge for a regional three-peat and a third straight trip to the state 1B/2B meet.
The Hornets didn’t quite get their team three-peat, finishing second to Lake Roosevelt by one point. But with the minimum of five girls needed for a team score, the Hornets will indeed be heading back to state.
Despite cold, rainy conditions, Sierra Speiker cruised to her third straight individual regional title and ran a 3-mile personal best time of 18:15 to win by more than two minutes.
Lisa Hartvig (5th, 22:14) and Callie Barker (7th, 22:51) also cracked the top 10 to earn individual qualifications to state. But with two full teams eligible to go as groups, the Hornets’ Aya Cruspero (12th, 24:45) and Celene Cisneros (13th, 27:13) will also be headed to Pasco next Saturday.
Lake Roosevelt, which was second to the Hornets in the Central Washington League meet last week, will be sending Alexia Hanway (4th, 22:05), Mary Ann Matheson (6th, 22:28), Rickyna Sam (9th, 23:37), Amanda Palmer (10th, 24:28), Keya Fasthorse, Charli Knight and Clare Castrodale.
Other CWL state qualifiers were Lily Schlotzhauer (8th, 23:12) of Liberty Bell and Rhiannon Easter (3rd, 20:57) of Pateros.
Speiker will be looking to win her second state title in three years. She won her first championship as a freshman and was runner-up last year to Morgan Willson of Colfax, whom Speiker had upset the year before.
Speiker’s top challenge should come from Anna Henry, a senior from Northwest Christian (Colbert). Despite heading into the late season with a 5k best of 19:55, Henry won the District 7/9 regional with a 3-mile time of 18:17, beating her personal best at that distance by 40 seconds. (It should also be noted that 20 of the top 29 1B/2B girls times this year came in that meet, which may speak more to the course itself than the performances).
For the boys, Diego Santana (18th, 18:17) and Ronel Kee (32nd, 20:28) ran for the Hornets.
CWL and state-ranked Liberty Bell easily won the regional title, with Manson edging out Bickleton for the second team spot. The Mountain Lions’ Liam Daily (16:11) won the regional title and will be joined at state by teammates Morgan Ott (4th, 17:19), Taylor Woodruff (8th, 17:33), Nolan Jensen (9th, 17:44), Willy Duguay, Seppe Sebreghts and John Hausman.
Manson was paced by Angel Garcia (7th, 17:30).
The state finals meet is hosted by Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. The 1B/2B girls race is at 10:00 a.m., with the 1B/2B boys running at 11:30 and the awards ceremony for both at 1:15 p.m.