The cross-country rivalry between Central Kitsap High School’s Rose Christen and Olympia’s Sofia Kane isn’t like Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali or the Seattle Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers.
“It’s like racing your best friend, who is really good,” Christen said. “Sofia Kane is honestly the nicest person I’ve ever talked to.”
She might be nice, but she also knows how to edge Christen. Kane had won almost every meet since the two were freshman in 2010 and won all five meets they ran against each other last year by only one or two places – including Kane’s first place to Christen’s second at last year’s 4A Narrows League Championships.
But Christen finally had her way in the friendly rivalry Wednesday. In doing so, she won her first Narrows title with a time of 18 minutes, 0.78 seconds at
Fort Steilacoom Park to finish well ahead of Kane’s third-place time of 18:25.74.
Even though it was just her third loss to Christen in 12 meets since 2010, Kane wasn’t bitter.
“She is tough,” Kane said. “I’m just really glad I’ve gotten to know her through the years. One of the best parts about cross-country, to me, is just having these great people around to race against. That’s always what I look forward to.”
Kane entered as the favorite with the top 5-kilometer time of 18:04.4 (seventh-best in the state, according to athletic.net) in the Narrows.
Christen’s 18:00.78 not only topped that, but also vaulted her from the No. 14 time in the state to No. 4, based on times entering Wednesday. The last time Christen beat Kane was in 2011 and she placed sixth to Kane’s fourth in the 4A state championships last year.
But it’s not something that keeps Christen up at night.
“Girls sports are sometimes iffy like that,” Christen said. “But distance (running) just seems to be fantastic. Everyone is friends and passionate about each other. I love being as good as I am so I can be with people like that.”
Kane and Gig Harbor’s Brenna Peloquin – who placed second in 18.22.28 Wednesday and won the Narrows title as a freshman in 2011 – led the way through the first mile until Christen picked up her pace and passed on a downhill stretch shortly after the first-mile marker.
Christen’s best success has been in track with her second-place finish in the 800 meters at the Class 4A state championships in the spring and fourth-place in the 1,600. But she said her finish Wednesday should help change that perception.
“That’s definitely what I was thinking – how when this goes on athletic.net, and all the coaches are going to see it,” Christen said. “I knew this kind of effort from me was there, it just needed to get down on paper. It was really good to do this today.”
Bellarmine Prep won the girls team title with 33 points – to Central Kitsap’s 60 – and was led by Emily Thomas (fourth place, 18:56.20) and Miranda Ross (fifth place, 19:02.32). Laura Staeheli (19:06.80) was seventh, Jordan Thurston (19:11.83) eighth and Hannah Derby (19:15.63) ninth as the Lions dominated the top 10.
The Gig Harbor boys – ranked No. 1 in the dyestat.com high school cross-country rankings – easily won the team title with its runners taking the top four spots. Wolfgang Beck won his third consecutive Narrows title by finishing in a personal-best 15:06.75, which would bump him from third to second in the state behind Seattle Prep’s Joe Hardy.
“I just wanted to get my name in the record books here because I know there have been a lot of great runners to come out of Gig Harbor,” Beck said. “I just wanted to join their league.
“But I really want to be part of the history of my team and I think this year is going to be a really good year for us. We are going for the win at nationals and I want to be a part of that record.”
Olympia’s Peter Kesting was the only runner not from Gig Harbor to finish in the top five. He took fifth in 15:31.80.
Gig Harbor’s Logan Carroll (15:10.58) took second and jumped from the state’s 11th-best time to No. 4.
Rounding out the top four for the Tides was Tristan Peloquin, Brenna Peloquin’s twin brother, in 15:15.17, and Mahmoud Moussa, who was fourth in 15:31.42.