Lincoln High School’s James Mwaura got so far ahead, he was lapping other runners.
Keep in mind, this was a cross country race.
Under the lights at Lincoln Bowl at Lincoln High School — with the football team practicing on the field — Mwaura bounded over hay bales and cruised on the eight-lap course to win the seventh annual Narrows Twilight Meet on Wednesday.
“It’s not like any other meet we run in,” Mwuara said. “Especially being two miles, at night, the music playing, jumping over hay bales — it’s not much like a cross country race.”
Mwaura, a junior, finished in 9 minutes, 22.66 seconds — just off the meet record set by Gig Harbor’s Wolfgang Beck (9:13.06).
Puyallup’s Colin Monaghan took second in 9:58.01, and Shelton’s William Johnson was third in 10:02.37.
The Narrows League no longer exists, but meet founders Duane Lee of Lincoln and Matt Ellis of Bellarmine Prep said they chose to keep the Narrows name this season. Puyallup was the only school that competed in Wednesday’s race that hadn’t been a part of the 4A or 3A Narrows.
And Ellis and Lee kept the same props, too.
“It’s probably the funnest race all season besides the championship,” Johnson said.
Puyallup’s Rachel Kastama won the main girls race, finishing in 11:24.48.
She seemed to clear the straw hay bales with ease. Runners had to clear the bales twice per lap.
Her twin sister, Sarah Kastama, didn’t have as much success. Her cleat got stuck in the hay when she tried to stride over one, and she tripped and scuffed up her right shoulder.
So Puyallup coach Sandy Monaghan couldn’t have been too pleased in her first time competing in this meet, right?
“Actually, I think it’s kind of fun,” said Sandy Monaghan, whose son, Colin, placed second in the boys race. “Even if Sarah is not feeling that way with her shoulder.
“But she popped up and got back going. That’s what’s going to happen in cross country. You might stop and fall or trip, but you have to get back up. This is a tough sport.”
Sarah Kastama placed seventh in 12:19.22. Bellarmine’s Karli Maenhout was second in 11:53.80, and Peninsula’s Sadie Lucero was third in 12:09.57.
Mwaura thought he made a good case to become a hurdler with his work handling the hay.
“He’s like the ghost that you are just trying to catch up to,” said Olympia’s Tilahun Castro, who finished fifth. “It doesn’t even feel like he’s part of the race he’s so far ahead.”
It was the final tuneup of the season for Mwaura — who finished eighth in the 3A state championship meet last year — before he prepares for the Pierce County League meet on Oct. 22.
“I felt I did all right,” said Mwuara, who followed the race with five runs up the hill to the Lincoln locker room and back. “It was just a workout to prepare myself for state, and I just wanted to go out there and have fun.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677