ARLINGTON — The Eagles cross country team warmed up for the Twilight Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 5, when they swept a meet at Everett Memorial Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 3.
“We swept them, it wasn’t even close,” said head coach Mike Shierk, of the Seagull meet, which also hosted Monroe. “The girls won with 17 points, the boys got 19 points and the JV boys got 16 points.”
There were clear leaders in each division.
Emma Janousek took first place for the girls,” said Shierk. “On the boys’ side it was Nathan Beamer in first place. JJ Childress led the JV boys. It was really cool because we were kind of using this race as a confidence builder for Saturday because our Saturday race is our main focus. We are going against nine of the 16 teams we will be racing against at the Bi-District Championships. We want to see how we match up and didn’t want to be too tired from today’s effort. We took it easy for the first mile, and the kids performed remarkably. We are in a really good place right now.”
This year, the Eagles are training for one specific goal.
“We have been training harder than we ever have because the kids have been asking us to help them to get to a place they have never been to — they want to get to state. We have been punishing them as far as the workouts go. They are really, really working hard.
One thing Shierk said shows the skill of this season’s athletes is the strength of its junior varsity runners.
“Our JV boys haven’t lost a race all season,” he said. “They have won every race we’ve been to —they won our race at Strawberry Fields, our home race, the race today, the South Whidbey race and the reason that is happening is that we have such good depth in our boys side. We are only electing to run our top 12, but we have another four or five guys we can be running. Their strength shows because they are more like varsity guys, but we can’t fit them all in to the varsity races. There are some really young guys on the team too, so this time next year we will have some really strong juniors at the state tournament.”
The Twilight Invitational is hosted by Marysville Getchell at Cedarcrest Golf Course.
“We love the Twilight. It’s such a celebration of the sport and we look forward to it, we can’t wait,” said Shierk. “We are intentionally going there because we want to do well and build our confidence. We aren’t expecting to win the whole thing but we want to go in and have a good showing. We are doing everything and we are going to race as hard as we can and be a little more gutsy. It’s the biggest meet for that day in the state of Washington and we are excited to be there.”