AHS cross country heads to Wesco Championships

Arlington High School’s girls and boys cross country teams celebrate their recent victories at the South Whidbey Invite. - Courtesy Photo
Arlington High School’s girls and boys cross country teams celebrate their recent victories at the South Whidbey Invite.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

ARLINGTON — The Arlington High School boys and girls cross country teams travel to South Whidbey High School on Saturday, Oct. 26, to compete in the Wesco League Championship meet, and will be running on a course where they’ve already had considerable success this year.

According to Arlington Cross County Head Coach Mike Shierk, the Eagles competed in the Sept. 21 South Whidbey Invite and had an outstanding day.

“We took both the JV teams and both the varsity teams,” said Shierk. “Our girls varsity, our boys JV and our girls JV all won their races, while our boys varsity finished in second place. In addition, we also won the overall combined boys and girls varsity. So out of the five possible trophies, we brought home four of them.”

Shierk said that performance has given his kids a lot of confidence for the upcoming Wesco League meet on the same course.

“We went there and did very, very well,” Shierk said. “We are happy about it because it gives the kids a lot of confidence, and they feel they can go back to that course and do very well for the Wesco Championships.”

Shierk said the varsity boys team is led by sophomore Nathan Beamer, who set a new PR a couple of weeks ago at the Oct. 5 Twilight Invite. Also competing well recently for the boys are sophomores Peiter Andrew, Matthew Taylor and Michael Barene, and senior Ben Comerford.

“On the boys’ side, one of our goals is to beat Lake Stevens which has been a perennial State contender. They take a boys team to State almost every single year. Ever since I’ve been around, and this is my 14th year, they have always been able to get a team to qualify,” said Shierk. “And, so, our pathway to State is we have to beat Lake Stevens. That is our goal on Saturday, and the next Saturday after that, at the Bi-District meet, we are going for them again.”

On the girls variety team, Shierk said a trio of runners lead the team.

“At the recent Hole in the Wall Invite, our top five girls were led by a pack of three girls, sophomore Emma Janousek, junior Cassidy Rude and sophomore Gracie Castandeda,” said Shierk. “They are lights-out tough, and one of the reasons it is so cool is that they are all within seconds of each other. They all run in a pack, and when you can get three girls running as a pack, who run really fast and are going to be toward the front of the race, it is just extremely tough to compete with that type of group.”

Shierk added, “We have a sophomore, Marie Gaudin, who is also consistently running well. And we have Shanelle Shirey, a junior, who just took almost 20 seconds of her season PR and almost broke 21 minutes. That was huge for us.”

While the boys are looking to beat Lake Stevens, Shierk said the girls are looking to beat Snohmoish.

“We really want to compete with Snohomish,” said Shierk. “They are a really good team and have a great coach. We want to get them.”

Shierk said that there are two ways to move on from the Wesco Championship to the Bi-District meet.

“The top eight teams from the Wesco Championship move on to the Bi-District Championship, which is Wesco and Kingco, and the top 40 individuals qualify,” said Shierk. “At the Bi-District, it narrows down quite a bit, with the top five teams and the top 25 individuals moving on to the State meet. It’s much more of an accomplishment to get a team of kids together to qualify, so that is what we always try to shoot for.”

Shierk said he working to get his team to peak at the critical time of the season.

“Not necessarily this week, but the week after, we are going to start pulling back a bit on the amount of mileage the kids are running, and the intensity of the workouts,” said Shierk. “We want them to peak a just the right time. We feel like we are in great shape, the kids are healthy, and we made it through the tough part of the season. The kids are confident as they prepare for the upcoming meets.”

For results of the Wesco 3A/4A Championships click here.

AHS Wesco Championship Roster

Men’s Varsity

Nathan Beamer

Ben Comerford

Peiter Andrew

Matthew Taylor

Michael Barene

Shay King

Jacob Fankhauser

Zachary Cushman

Nicholas Taylor

Caleb Smith

Bailey Laren-Gray

Ivan Baez-Nolasco

Women’s Varsity

Emma Janousek

Cassidy Rude

Gracie Castandeda

Marie Gaudin

Shanelle Shirey

Sidney Trinidad

Katelyn Kazen

Rachael Fleming

Elizabeth Kern

Miranda Carr

Hannah Chung

Anna Deeter

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