PASCO – The Washington state high school cross-country meet can be described in terms of goals achieved and promises kept.
The Northwest Christian girls kept faith with a seven-year-old promise and the Charles Wright boys achieved a goal set at the state meet a year earlier.
The NWC girls won their seventh consecutive 1B-2B state championship, the longest streak for a Washington girls team.
The Charles Wright Academy boys won the 1A race after returning the top six runners from last year’s fourth-place team.
The 4A girls race was one of the meet’s most anticipated individual matchups. Camas sophomore Alexa Efraimson powered away at the 1-mile mark to defeat defending champion Jordan McPhee of Mount Rainier by 36 seconds.
Efraimson’s winning time of 17 minutes, 34.2 seconds was bettered only by Glacier Peak senior Amy-Eloise Neale, who ran 17:03.6 to win the 3A race.
The Gig Harbor boys in 4A and the Peninsula girls in 3A each earned state-meet trophies by placing third.
Charles Wright won its state tile by three points over Lakeside in the closest team race of the day. Ruben Riordan led Charles Wright by placing third overall in 16:07.9.
“This has been our goal all year,” Charles Wright coach Ryan Johnson said. “Our top three guys are seniors and the other guys look up to them. It’s been an amazing year with these guys.”
Riordan said he was not entirely at his best Saturday.
“My focus has been more on school than running,” he said.
Riordan finished behind Mount Baker’s Dillon Quintana and Blaine’s Tom Bradley, who crossed the line together in 15:50, the closest individual race of the day (Quintana was declared the winner in 15:50.0 and Bradley in 15:50.8).
“But those two are great runners,” Riordan said. “If I’d run like I did last year, it would really have been a great race.”
NWC was led by senior Hailey Bredeson, who place third in 19:57.4. She was joined in the top 10 by teammates Anna Brooks (fifth, 20:11.4) and Megan Teigen (ninth, 20:40.6.).
“I’m happy with third,” Bredeson said. “But this is the same time I ran as a freshman. How I do and how the team does is connected. I know that if I do my best, I’m not letting my team down and if I’m not at my best, they have my back.”
NWC’s championship run began in 2006 when Bredeson, Teigen and fellow seniors Allison Sowers and Savannah Schilter were in sixth grade.
“The kids have been really committed,” NWC coach Larry Weber said. “There’s a family atmosphere on our team. But it comes from the kids, not the coaches.”
Even though she was the Class 4A defending champion, McPhee knew she would face a stiff challenge from Efraimson, who placed third in the 3A race last year and defeated McPhee at last weekend’s district meet. Efraimson was one of the country’s top ninth graders in track last spring.
“It really hasn’t been my best year,” McPhee said. “But she’s very good. I’m happy to have someone to push me.”
Gig Harbor’s boys and Peninsula’s girls each came into the state meet ranked fifth.
“We’re not surprised,” Peninsula coach Joel Wingaard said. “Our top four have been excellent all season, so we knew it would depend on our fifth girl, Amelia Lauer. She really came through today.”
Lauer was 95th overall in 21:01.9.
Gig Harbor junior Wolfgang Beck (15:16.3) placed second behind Mead’s Andrew Gardner (15:02.3) to lead the Tides onto the podium. Beck was far from disappointed, and his finish led him to make another promise, to set another goal.
“All those other guys are seniors,” Beck said. “Andrew Gardener was a junior last year, and he placed second at state.”
“We always hope to have a chance to compete for a state title,” Gig Harbor coach Mark Wierczorek said. “Honestly, this was not our best day. But I am proud of the way we competed.”