OMAK – Tonasket’s Damon Halvorsen wasn’t going to let this one get away.
Halvorsen and Omak’s Michael Goble have been closely matched throughout their four-year high school careers. Both three-time state qualifiers, they rarely finish more than two or three places apart even in big meets. But with all the two have accomplished, neither had won a Caribou Trail League championship, and Thursday, Oct. 20, was the last opportunity for both.
Halvorsen took the lead right out of the starting box and gradually pulled away for a 16 second victory to claim his first individual CTL title, clocking a 3.1 mile time of 16:34.6.
“I just wanted to get out there, and any time I started feeling comfortable, I just kept pushing,” Halvorsen said. “Never let yourself feel comfortable.”
Goble had beaten Halvorsen on Oct. 4 at the Omak Invitational, which had the hometown fans rooting that much harder for a Pioneer victory.
“I used the Omak crowd in a way,” Halvorsen said. “I could hear them cheering for Michael. Ever since that race, I’ve made it my goal never to repeat that. I just went out to go for No. 1 as fast as I could”
“Damon ran a great race,” said Tonasket coach Bob Thornton. “His hard work over the years paid off with a well-deserved league championship.”
Cashmere claimed the team title by placing five finishers in the top 10, though none took higher than fourth.
Omak, paced by Goble and third-place Morgan O’Dell, took second while the Tigers finished third. Jake Hickman (6th, 17:37) was the only other Tiger in the top 10. Oscar Avilez took 14th, Devyn Catone was 25th, Adam Halvorsen took 32nd, Smith Condon was 34th and Wyatt O’Brian came in 35th.
“Jake and Oscar ran good, solid races as well,” Thornton said. “We have been focused on the regional championship meet … I am pleased with how the team not only wants to do well, but expects to do well.”
Cashmere also won the girls title in dominating fashion, claiming eight of the top 10 spots. Angela Knishka won the individual title in 20:13.2.
Kyndra Dellinger, battling a sideache for most of the race, took 17th in 23:54, with Megan Beyers finishing 24th (26:06).
The Tigers, as well as the rest of the CTL squads, will run at the District 6/7 regional meet Saturday, Oct. 28, at Spokane’s Plantes Ferry Park. The top four teams, and any individuals that finish in the top 20, move on to the 1A state finals meet Nov. 5 in Pasco.