Arlington, Lakewood girls head to state meet

LANGELY — The Eagles stayed together through a muddy South Whidbey course to place second and punch their ticket to the state cross country meet.

“They were all muddy and looked like they just went through a battle,” said coach Mike Shierk of his girls who finished with a score of 118 at the District 1 meet, good for second place.

Tears flowed when the Arlington girls found out that they were in the top three teams advancing to Sun Willows Golf Course Nov. 7.

“It was pretty cool. You could see it on their faces that they made a decision to race together and once they got position at the top of the hill (halfway through), all they had to do was hold on,” Shierk said.

While the girls typically run in a group, breaking away was Teresa Wadey who finished fourth with a time of 19:24. She was followed by Katie Anderson (24th, 20:42), Safa Pinkens (27th, 20:47) and Kristin Wregglesworth (29th, 20:57).

A young team with just one senior, the Eagles earned their second trip to state in close to a decade. For the boys, lead runner James Clark finished in 13th place, earning a spot to race at state with a finish of 17:04.

“He is an animal,” Shierk said. “He did not race well last week, but he was determined to stay with the Jackson boys, and he was close.”

Jackson is the state’s top-ranked 4A school, known for finishing six or seven runners in the top 15.

In the 2A race, the Lakewood boys and girl both finished fourth, earning a spot at state.

Cougar frontrunners were Chelsey Stokes (5th place) and Taylor Guske (4th).

“The kids ran really well in the mudd and against the driving rain, so that slowed down the times a little,” said Cougars coach Jeff Sowards.

The boys, ranked No. 4 in the state, scored 114 by outkicking Bellingham in the last mile to earn the last spot and their 26th consecutive state bid.

“I think on any day, any of these four teams could be right up there,” Sowards said, referring to Burlington-Edison, Sehome and Squalicum — the three teams ranked ahead of the Cougars.

The girls scored 109 points to earn their first trip in three years.

The racers of the day for the Cougars, Sewards said, went to Mitchel Gogert, finished just off his personal record (18:19) for the boys and Tasha Bartol, who did PR for the girls (24:26).

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