Graeme Schroeder’s formula for success is a mere two words: run scared.
And on Saturday, that is exactly what the Tahoma High School junior did en route to winning the Class 4A SPSL/Seamount/KingCo League Cross Country Championships at Fort Steilacoom Park.
“I always run scared,” he said. “I always think someone’s going to pass me right now and it fuels me, so I just keep running like someone’s chasing me.
“Until I’m over that line and I turn around and see the next guy, I’m not sure if I won or not.”
Schroeder finished the race in 15 minutes, 39.38 seconds, in front of classmate Keegan Fitzpatrick (15:55.84). He said that he was equally pleased with his teammates’ times, all of which were personal bests despite running in a downpour and heavy winds.
“Cross country isn’t an individual sport for me,” Schroeder said. “It’s all about the team, and I won’t feel successful until our team wins a state title.”
Tahoma dominated the Class 4A competition, occupying four of the top five spots to win the boys team title with 18 points, far ahead of runner-up Emerald Ridge’s 149. The Tahoma girls’ 28 points also translated to a team title, with second-place Curtis scoring 115.
Senior Delaney Tiernan defended her meet title in 18:50.10 — but called her final win on a beloved course “bittersweet.”
Tiernan, who had “Them” written on the inside of her left wrist, said the Bears’ emphasis on teamwork keeps her going.
“This is for them — our team,” she said. “If you feel like you’re having a bad race or you’re getting tired, do it for each other.”
Bears coach Jeff Brady said his team had an “outstanding day.”
“It’s a lot of hard work they put in, and it’s fun to watch it pay off,” he said.
Enumclaw junior Samantha Engebretsen’s win (19:21.54) helped the Hornets to the 3A girls team title. She said their goal was to beat perennial powerhouse Peninsula, which finished second (65).
“When we heard that we won, we screamed and hugged and cried,” she said. “It’s such an amazing feeling to win as a team.”
Auburn Mountainview junior Christian Rotter won the 3A boys race, in 16:10.80, but said he was more excited that he would get to run at next weekend’s district meet with his teammates for the first time. The seventh-place Lions just made the cut with 165 points.
Out on the course, Rotter said, he was spurred by “knowing that if I could put in a good performance (and) set an example for them, we would have a chance to go as a team.”
Liberty of Issaquah captured both 2A team titles, with the boys scoring 55 points and the girls 37. Evergreen junior Marques Chacon won the boys’ race in 15:59.77, and Liberty senior Sarah Bliesner the girls’ in 19:33.39.