Cedarcrest’s cross country teams, both boys and girls, traveled to state competition Nov. 4 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. It was a fun day, despite the temperatures.
“I can’t recollect a colder day for the state meet in my 24 years of coaching at Cedarcrest cross country,” recalled head coach Bruce McDowell. “The temperature stayed in the 30s for most of the day. I don’t think the weather changed the outcome of anything. It just made it a cold day for standing around for five hours.”
In the competition, Cedarcrest’s girls’ team finished seventh, overall. Elsie Dombek was the top finisher in ninth place, running 19:21. Also in the top five finishers for Cedarcrest, Alicia Krivanek took 35th, Kate Vergillo47th, Kelly Hall 67th and Mary Cate Babcock 72nd. Cecelia Kiesow placed 116th and Aryia Farnworth 127th. Katelyn Wells and Ginger Van Valkenburg were alternates.
McDowell offered this fun fact: “Freshman Aryia’s dad Sam ran at two state meets for Tolt High School…. She becomes the first Cedarcrest High School state meet competitor who is the child of a Tolt High School State meet competitor. We will do our best to make sure that she exceeds his total of two state meets.
By finishing in ninth, Dombeck made the top 16 and the podium. She is the 10th Cedarcrest girl to reach the state podium and the third to do it as a sophomore, following in the footsteps of Caitlin Ramirez and Cara Strodel.
The boys team finished in ninth, with Grant Van Valkenburg finishing 2nd place, running 15:26.
“There was a pack of boys through the first mile with Grant in the pack. At about 1.5 miles, the pack dwindles to less than half dozen and then at 1.75 miles, Grant throws in this surge on a slight downhill to lead a trio away from the others,” McDowell tells the story. “After two miles, it is down to two, Grant and Cade Brown from Bellingham. They battle back and forth all the way to the finish where Brown crosses in 15:26.0 and Grant crosses in 15:26.7.”
Also in the top five were Ben Benson, 27th, Emmett Klaiber 60th, Brady Shaw 98th and Bryce Hefner 116th. Ryan LaTurner placed 132nd and Brennan LeBlanc 144th. Justin Young and Patrick McCabe were alternates.
Van Valkenburg set a Cedarcrest record for the fastest time in a state meet and finished higher than any previous runner. He is the eighth Cedarcrest runner to make the podium, and he was on the podium last year, too, when he took fifth place in state.
He will be named to the All-State team an honor going to the top 40 competitors from the state meet regardless of classification.
This meet marks the official end of the Cedarcrest season, although some runners will compete Nov. 11 in the NXN Northwest Regional meetin in Boise Idaho. Van Valkenburg is also running, with Cedarcrest alumns, in the Nike BorderClash meet in Beaverton, OR Nov. 18, pitting the top Washington runners against the top Oregon runners.