Pasco, WA - The Northwest Christian boys cross country team won their fifth consecutive 1B/2B state team title this past Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Sun Willows Golf Course with a total score of 59 points.
Of the five state championships won in a row by the Navigators, this was their biggest margin of victory over the second place team beating Pope John Paul II by 76 points.
"Those guys set their sights on winning again in the summer," said head coach Mike Michaels. "We were able to develop a lot of good young runners as the older guys did a great job of mentoring them."
Three juniors made the podium for the Navigators as Noah Phillips was the highest placer finishing second with a time of 16:21.3. Placing fifth and eighth were Garrett McSheffery (16:43.9) and Cameron Nielson (16:56.8)
McSheffery and Phillips placed ninth and 11th in last years state meet and were the only two on the podium, where as Nielson placed 31st making the biggest jump of the three from last years state meet.
Coach Michaels was impressed with what Nielson did over the summer for training and the progression he had made from his sophomore season since he made the best improvements in the program.
"(Cameron) really got hooked into running and studying the sport this past summer. He learned a lot and put the mileage in too. He would always look up to Noah and Garret in front of him and I just kept convincing him that he could run with those guys and he started doing it in practice and in races."
Hamilton Summers (21st,17:28), Jude Phillips (49th, 18:07.3), Carson Buster (50th, 18:07.3), and Kyle Hoffert (64th, 18:22) were the Navigators fourth through seventh runners.
The Navigators have now won a total of eight state championships in school history at the 1B/2B level. With five runners returning next season, there is a very good chance for sixth consecutive state title to be won.
"The top guys are all underclassmen, so they look at an opportunity to win number five this year and still be able to have a good shot at next year. They look at the big picture for the future and we prepare them by taking them to tons of big meets to race against some good competition."
Back to Back for Adna's Austen Apperson
Austen Apperson from Adna High School won his second 1B/2B state title in two consecutive years running a time of 15:56.40.
The senior becomes the third runner ever at the 1B/2B classification level to win back-to-back state championships in the last 25 years. Asotin's Chandler Teigen and Reardan's Brad Serdar are the other two to accomplish this feat.
Apperson has qualified for the state meet all four years in his high school career and has had the mindset of becoming a champion from the moment he first set foot on the Sun Willows Golf Course.
"It has been a goal of mine since I started running to come in and be able to win a state title my junior and senior year," said Apperson. "After this final race, everything went to plan and I fell through with my goal.
With no surprise, Apperson ran like the number one ranked runner at the 1B/2B level is suppose to as he never trailed the race and won by almost 30 seconds.
Apperson finished the season ranked second in the entire state of Washington at all classification levels with his 5,000 meter time of 15:06 behind Woodinville's Luke Houser, who ran 14:57 for the fastest time in the state.
"Overall, I am happy about the race. I'm happy with the effort I put in and happy to come away with the win."
Other Results from this Race
Behind Northwest Christian and Pope John Paull II in team standings, Asotin and Manson earn trophies by placing third and fourth scoring 148 points and 176 points.
Second place Pope John Paul II top boys were Kobe (16:53.5) and Caden Deutscher (16:58.1) taking seventh and ninth.
Asotin was led by the 19th place finish from Eli Engledow as he ran 17:24.5.
Connor Torgeson from Manson placed 15th running 17:08.7 as his teams top runner.
Gavin Merritt of Tekoa-Rosalia finished in third with a time of 16:31.3 and Kalama's Addison Smee placed fourth running 16:37.7.
Cedar Tree Classical Christian's August Albers (16:44.5) and Toledo's Nicholas Marty (17:02.4) placed sixth and 10th.
For more results from the 1B/2B boys state race, visit: https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/147104/results/614814