High School Sports

Lincoln’s James Mwaura finishes first, but it’s all Ballard in team standings at Curtis Cross Country Invite

The Ballard High School girls and boys cross country teams stole the show during the 20th Annual Curtis Invite, with both teams taking first place during Saturday’s race at Titlow Park in Tacoma.

The Ballard boys posted a final score of 98, seven points better than second place Thomas Jefferson.

Lincoln High School’s James Mwaura dominated the boys race, finishing in 15 minutes, 40.9 seconds to finish in first place.

After battling with Ballard’s James Konugres the Abes sophomore kicked it into another gear and pulled away from the pack in the final mile of the race. Mwaura finished nearly 19 seconds ahead of second-place Konugres.

Lincoln only had three runners compete and did not figure into the team standings.

Mountain View of Vancouver’s Savanna Craig finished first on the girls side in 18:32.6. Curtis finished second in the team standings with 107 points, while Ballard easily won with 22.

Curtis’ Kenzie Richards finished in ninth place with a time of 20:08.9.

“The girls are going to be really good this year,” Curtis coach Ben Mangrum said. “Just wait until the end of the season.”

The Vikings had three finishers in the top 20, not one of them was a senior. Richards is a sophomore, junior Keely Gorospe, took 14th in 20:24.20, and sophomore Emily Barrett placed 17th in 20:31.9.

Ballard runners took five of the top seven spots in the girls race, led by Jamie Smith, who finished second in 19:26.5. Capital sophomore Naomi Reyes was fifth and Jefferson’s Lydia Wolfrom was eighth.

Olympia placed fourth as a team on the boys side with 116 points thanks to seniors Noah Murry, (seventh, 16:33.9) and Ben Riley (15th, 16:56.3).

“They’re running awfully well,” Bears coach Jesse Stevick said. “We lost a lot of talent last year and these guys are really improving as the year goes on.”

The invite was held at Titlow Park because Chambers Creek Regional Park is not completely open following the U.S. Open in June. The Curtis Invite has been typically held in the Central Meadow area of Chambers Creek, which was covered by tents during the golf tournament and will not open to the public until the grass grows back.

There were mixed feelings regarding the course, with many of the runners complaining of a bottleneck on a bridge at the beginning of the race slowing some runners to a walk. Others said the trails were too narrow.

The annual meet featured 25 teams and more than 1,000 athletes, which is about half the size of previous races held at Chambers Creek.

“We had to cap it because of parking limitations,” said Mangrum, who was also the organizer of the invite. “The race will be back at Chambers next year.”