By now, Jordan McPhee is just used to being fast.
Enough that the Mount Rainier junior’s easy win in the Fort Steilacoom Invitational elicited little more than a shrug.
“I was kind of hoping to run better,” she said of her time of 18 minutes, 50.6 seconds in the 5-kilometer race, seven seconds faster than Sofia Kane of Olympia.
“It was a beautiful day, though.”
After all, McPhee, the defending Class 4A state champion, set a course record at Fort Steilacoom last year at the South Puget Sound League meet.
“Coming down the last hill, I was pushing through it,” she said. “It was just desire. I saw (Kane) right there and I wasn’t about to let it go after leading so long.”
Still, a win is a win – especially for someone who took up running as a freshman only because her friends encouraged her to join the track team, and she didn’t expect to be that good.
“It’s going all right,” she said of her performance. “I’m not where I was last season at this time.”
Kane said she was pleasantly surprised to be able to hang in there with McPhee.
“That surprised me,” she said. “I’m used to her being untouchable. I wish I had tried harder to stick with her, but it’s nice having someone in front of you because it shows you can always be working harder.”
Shadle Park junior Nicholas Hauger won the boys competition in 15:41.7 – despite not being able to check out the entire course the day before. The group from Spokane got lost trying to find Fort Steilacoom Park.
“I honestly didn’t know how I was going to do today,” he said, adding that he was just aiming to be in the top 10. “I got a good start and then I was flying down the hills. The hills did it.”
Dallas Snider of W.F. West (15:46.3) and Mohamud Abdi of Lindbergh (15:46.8) rounded out the top three in the boys race. Rose Christen of Central Kitsap (19:05.8) placed third for the girls.
Olympia’s boys won the team competition; Snohomish won the girls event.
Bears coach Jesse Stevick said his team had set a goal to win the big invite. More than 2,000 runners from schools across the state ran, up from about 1,400 last year.
“That was the goal – to win it,” he said. “Rarely in races do I check out the competition beforehand, but (some of the runners) looked at it and they knew it was a possibility.”
The Bears’ win was sparked by sophomore Peter Kesting (fifth place, 15 minutes, 51.0 seconds) and senior Nate Van Haitsma (seventh, 16:00.1).
“Having two guys up there, in fifth and seventh place, was huge for the scoring,” Stevick said.