Locals heading to nationals

Two Valley youth are heading to the national cross-country

competition to be held in Spartanburg, S.C., after competing at regional competition

last weekend in Portland. Drake da Ponte, the nine-year-old who has been

a dominant force in long-distance running this year, placed ninth in the

nine- and ten-year-old bracket while Mount Si freshman Joel Eib placed 13th

in his age bracket.

Turning in a time of 13 minutes, 40 seconds, da Ponte was one of

20 competitors out of 57 in his age bracket that placed for nationals

in Region 13, which covers Idaho, Washington, Alaska and Oregon. He is

a member of the Issaquah Gliders running club, which promotes running

for local youth.

"I've never been to South Carolina," says da Ponte. When

asked about his interest in cross-country running he replied, "Cross-country is

a good sport because you get to run through trees so it makes you feel

like you are running faster."

Eib has traveled to the nationals twice before, the first year

winning regionals and then placing 27th at nationals. His team received the

bronze medal, making him an all-American because of his team's placement.

Last year he went to Chicago as a result of placing 16th at regionals in the

13-14 year-old age group.

Eib was also on the Mount Si cross-country team as the lone

freshman. At the Portland Region 13 meet, he recorded a time of 13:19 over

the 4000-meter course.

The national meet will be held Dec. 11. The Valley Record will

post results after the competition.

If you would like more information on the Issaquah Gliders

running club, contact coach Joanne Hartman at (425) 392-8230.

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