When you’re at the front of the pack, visualization is key.
Bellevue’s Spike Sievert and Olympia’s Sofia Kane said they imagined there was another runner in front of them en route to winning Saturday’s Curtis Invitational. What they were actually following was a motorized cart leading the runners on the 5-kilometer route at Chambers Bay in University Place.
“I was by myself, so I was picturing following the leader in front of me,” said Sievert, a senior who finished in 15 minutes, 43.19 seconds, ahead of teammate junior Kyle Pratt (16:13.76). “It felt really good; it was a really smooth course, similar to the state course (in Pasco).”
Kane felt similarly.
The junior said her first win of the season in a 5K invitational, with a time of 18:18.45, was buoyed by “pretending the cart in front of me was another runner.”
“I was just really happy to get to run at this course,” she said. “I liked how flat it was. I had good footing.”
Olympia coach Cris Violette said Kane gained confidence after closing the gap with defending state champion Jordan McPhee of Mount Rainier at the Fort Steilacoom Invitational two weeks ago.
“That was big for her to say, ‘OK, I can run with some of these people I have looked up to as the best,’ ” he said. “She’s starting to believe in herself.”
In the team competition, Ballard’s boys scored 111 points to beat Bellevue (122). Peninsula won the girls competition with 79 points; Liberty of Issaquah was a distant second with 104.
Peninsula coach Joel Wingard said that the team completion was not what he expected. Bellarmine Prep, which won the meet last year, and Capital did not have varsity girls running, while Tahoma didn’t enter its top runners on either side. “When you looked at it on paper, it looks like this was going to be a brutal meet,” he said.
But junior McKenzi Bravo said not having some of the area’s top runners there gave the Seahawks an extra push.
“When we heard that Bellarmine isn’t here, we were really excited,” said Bravo, who finished second behind Kane, in 18:45.03. “We were like, ‘OK, guys, top 10; see how many of us can get there.”
In addition to Bravo besting the personal record she set at the 2011 state meet, Peninsula senior Katie Lynch placed sixth (19:20.25) and Sarah Manning, a sophomore, placed ninth (19:33.45).
“Our girls ran very, very well,” Wingard said. “All three of our top girls were near their very fastest times.”