Sports

Simbeck and Passalacqua to join Arlington girls at state

The Arlington girls cross country team qualified for state at districts at South Whidbey. From left, sophomore Safa Pinkens, freshman Molly Merritt, sophomore Yuki Dorff, freshman Bryna Prause, sophomore Amye Ellsworth, freshman Kylie Granado and senior Sarah Rayner. -
The Arlington girls cross country team qualified for state at districts at South Whidbey. From left, sophomore Safa Pinkens, freshman Molly Merritt, sophomore Yuki Dorff, freshman Bryna Prause, sophomore Amye Ellsworth, freshman Kylie Granado and senior Sarah Rayner.
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LANGLEY The Arlington girls came to South Whidbey High School with one major strategy stay ahead of Mount Vernon.
It paid off as the Eagle girls cross country team placed second to Squalicum and secured the other District 1 berth to the state meet in Pasco Nov. 3. The Eagles were led by sophomore Safa Pinkens, who has stepped up for the team this season while senior Sarah Rayner struggled with injuries.
Rayner looked well at districts though, finishing second for the team and in 13th place overall with a 21:21 time. Sophomore Yuki Dorff and freshman Kylie Granado finished seconds behind Rayner, and the trio of sophomore Amye Ellsworth and freshmen Bryna Prause and Molly Merritt finished in 21st, 22nd and 23rd around the 22-minute mark.
Arlington coach Mike Shierk said he knew the moment the girls would qualify for state.
When they came through the fence with about 1,200 meters left, as long as they held the position, he said.
The boys team fell just two points short of duplicating the feat. Despite taking a nasty spill at the two-mile marker requiring a trainers eye, senior Charlie Ewell still shaved seven seconds off his time at the Wesco championships the week before.
Arlington took third in the team competition, trailing Everett and Shorecrest teams that will continue on to state. But the boys will be represented at state by a pair of their seniors Paul Simbeck and Luke Passalacqua finished in second and seventh place. Simbecks 16:46 time was just four seconds out of first place, which went to Everetts Cody MacDougall, and Simbeck said he hopes to win the rematch a week later.
I was really hoping to win it. Just, the entire race, he was running a lot better than me, Simbeck said. Id like to beat Cody this time.
Simbeck added that he and Passalacqua have been running together since their middle school days, and they have motivated each other over the years.
Weve been running since eighth grade, but I hadnt been able to run with him until sophomore year, said Simbeck, who has committed to Everett Community College, where hell run for coach Matt Koenigs young team. Its just been a really good year. Weve been more focused. Ive had the best four years of my life running cross country.

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