With four days remaining till schools travel to Pasco, we have a look at what's in store for the 2019 WIAA Girl's Cross Country State Championship as far as who is competing, what teams and individuals will come away as champions, and inside look at the five races.
Qualified Teams: Liberty Bell, Northwest Christian (Lacey), Pope John Paul II, Ilwaco, Rainier, Cedar Tree Classical, Manson, Trout Lake, St. George's, Colfax, Kettle Falls, Garfield-Palouse
Individual to Watch for: Gabby Martin (Life Christian Academy)
Outsiders: Suzie Johnson (Cedar Tree Classical), Anais Mills (Garfield-Palouse)
Here's Some Information: With the absence of a three time individual and team champion, Liberty Bell's Novie McCabe, this season, it's time for Life Christian's Gabby Martin to step right in and take her place as the small schools top runner. Coming in with an incredible No. 1 time of 17:32.8, there is not one individual that will be able to catch Martin at the state meet this Saturday. And that's no disrespect to the other competitors, it's just Martin's time is a minute, 47 seconds faster than the No. 2 runner. For three years, Liberty Bell has reign supremacy as the 1B/2B schools top program winning back-to-back-to-back state titles. The streak could come to an end this season at the hands of Pope John Paul II. Clare Kondrat and a young PJP2 team look to win the first ever state championship for all sports in the ninth year of existence of the school. Currently, Liberty Bell is my favorite due to the fact the Mountain Lions are a more experienced team unlike the Eagles.
Predicted Individual Champion: Gabby Martin, Life Christian
Predicted State Team Placers: 1st Liberty Bell, 2nd Pope John Paul II, 3rd Northwest Christian, 4th Ilwaco
Qualified Teams: King's, Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), Deer Park, Klahowya, Port Townsend, Northwest, Bush, South Whidbey, Lynden Christian, Goldendale, Royal, Seton Catholic, Columbia (White Salmon), La Center, Chelan, Cashmere
Individuals to Watch for: Naomi Smith (King's), Alaina Stone Boggs (Colville)
Outsiders: Lizzy Shaw (Riverside), Lara Carrion (Seton Catholic), Campbell Baker (King's)
Here's Some Information: It's King's' Naomi Smith versus Colville's Alaina Stone Boggs Part 2. Last season, Smith came away with her first of three state titles she won in the 2018/2019 school year beating Stone Boggs by 11 seconds running 18:16.7. Expect the same competitive race this year, only this time it's going to come down to the last 300 meters of down hill on the final stretch. With how Stone Boggs has raced this season, Smith won't have it easy on Saturday like she did last season when the Colville senior broke away from her on the last mile. Riverside's Lizzy Shaw enters her final state championship meet with the intentions of placing higher than third place. Maybe she might even challenge with Smith and Stone Boggs for the first mile or two. Just like on the boy's side, the Northeast League teams have dominated winning eight state team titles in the last nine years, led by the 2018 champion Lakeside with four. The Eagles have five girls returning from last year's championship team, so why wouldn't you go with them to win? Madelyn Buckley leads the way for Lakeside as she comes in with No. 7 time, followed by teammate Matise Mulch at No. 9. King's has two of the top 1A runners in the state in Smith (No. 1) and Campbell Baker (No.5). With how those girls finish, could potentially dictate the scoring in the long term.
Predicted Individual Champion: Naomi Smith, King's
Predicted State Team Placers: 1st Lakeside, 2nd King's, 3rd Deer Park, 4th Northwest
Qualified Teams: Sehome, Bellingham, Liberty (Issaquah), Selah, West Valley (Spokane), Pullman, Ellensburg, Steilacoom, Port Angeles, North Kitsap, White River, Washington, Tumwater, Washougal, Anacortes, Hockinson
Individuals to Watch for: Leah Holmgren (Ellensburg), Livi Lackland Henry (Bellingham), Lauren Larson (Port Angeles)
Outsiders: MaryAlice Mitchell, (Washington), Riley Pyeatt (Sequim), Allyson Peterson (Hockinson)
Here's Some Information: If you asked me at the beginning of the year who could win the 2A state individual title, I wouldn't have an answer for you. But as time has passed on, Ellensburg Leah Holmgren has proved to be the best all season long in the 2A ranks running a personal best time of 17:58.3. Bellingham's Livi Lackland Henry gets another shot at racing against Holmgren where they met at the Sunfair Invite in Yakima as Holmgren finished in front of the Red Raider star by four seconds. I can see this being a different race in Lackland Henry's favor on another tough course much like Sunfair. If Lackland Henry can pull off the upset over Holmgren, Bellingham is in the mix for the team title with Ellensburg and the defending champs, West Valley. West Valley hasn't had their breakout meet this year, but expect their best effort this coming week led by Annika Esvelt, as she is a potential top 8 finisher. Although there is a lot of pressure to repeat as state champions for West Valley, the Eagles aren't guaranteed to repeat as Bellingham won't forget about the tie breaker they had with them last season that dictated the state title. And one last reminder, history can also repeat itself, especially if your high school name is Sehome, who has won nine state titles in the last 13 years.
Predicted Individual Champion: Livi Lackland Henry, Bellingham
Predicted State Team Placers: 1st Ellensburg, 2nd West Valley (Spokane), 3rd Bellingham, 4th Sehome
Qualified Teams: North Central, Kennewick, Lakes, Stadium, Capital, Central Kitsap, Gig Harbor, Arlington, Marysville Getchell, Edmonds-Woodway, Lynnwood, Eastside Catholic, Holy Names, Bishop Blanchet, Ballard, Ingraham
Individuals to Watch for: Allie Janke (North Central), Erinn Hill (North Central), Kate Simmons (Eastside Catholic)
Outsiders: Meri Dunford (Prairie), Geraldin Correa (Kennewick), Amelu Ruff (North Central)
Here's Some Information: Could North Central get any better this year with five girls ranked in the top 20 3A rankings? Oh wait, Allie Janke is back? Forget what I just asked because I just answered my own question. With Janke's return this last Saturday and her outstanding district performance, North Central has another shot to break their own state meet record again for fewest points, which is currently 22. Holy Names and Arlington are having great seasons, but there is no team insight of coming close to beating North Central, period. As for Janke, the state championship meet will be her second race of the year so it will be interesting as to how she performs. But regardless how she does, either she will repeat as champion or her teammate, Erinn Hill, will win her second state title in three seasons. Now I know this write-up is basically all about North Central, but there some other things to look forward to in this race. Prairie's Meri Dunford and Kennewick's Geraldin Correa illustrious careers come to an end hopefully in a positive fashion. Dunford and Correa are top 5 finishers and potentially even better. We also can't forget about Eastside Catholic's Kate Simmons, who is in the mix as a potential runner-up.
Predicted Individual Champion: Allie Janke, North Central
Predicted State Team Placers: 1st North Central, 2nd Holy Names, 3rd Arlington, 4th Central Kitsap
Qualified Teams: Tahoma, Camas, Bellarmine Prep, South Kitsap, Jefferson, Emerald Ridge, Rogers (Puyallup), Skyview, Lake Stevens, Glacier Peak, Richland, Lewis & Clark, Redmond, Eastlake, Eisenhower, Wenatchee
Individual to Watch for: Julia David-Smith (Issaquah), Ella Borsheim (Bellarmine Prep)
Outsiders: Kerstin Ly (Bothell)
Here's Some Information: Our other rematch in the 4A race: Issaquah's Julia David-Smith and Bellarmine's Ella Borsheim. This one was a shocker last season seeing Borsheim defeat the state's fastest runner by 25 seconds, which capped off an undefeated freshman campaign. Borsheim hasn't hit the times she had last year as she comes in with a time of 18:07, whereas David-Smith has run faster than her sophomore season with another state leading time of 17:06. Anything can happen at the state meet as Borsheim has proven, but I believe David-Smith has a big chip on her shoulder, plus I think winning the 1,600 state race in the spring has given her confidence in how to race on the big stage. Now looking at teams, this is where I am conflicted. Historically speaking, Camas has always had a successful program winning three state titles, but this could be the year Redmond joins the state championship club by winning their first ever state title in program history with the help of Lili Hargreaves and Sophia Dahl. Tahoma makes a case too as title contenders but could be way too far out at this point. Never say never though.
Predicted Individual Champion: Julia David-Smith, Issaquah
Predicted State Team Placers: 1st Camas, 2nd Redmond, 3rd Tahoma, 4th Lewis & Clark
Wheelchair - 9:30 a.m.
1B/2B Girls - 10:00 a.m.
1A Girls - 10:30 a.m.
2A Girls - 11:00 a.m.
3A Girls - 1:00 p.m.
4A Girls - 1:30 p.m.
Ambulatory - 2:00 p.m.
For more information on the 2019 WIAA State Cross Country Championships, visit: http://wiaa.com/ardisplay.aspx?ID=1633