Battle for 509 Recap: Cullen, Holden lead Mead teams to convincing wins
Updated: Oct 3, 2022
Full recap from the 2022 Battle for the 509 Invite at the Spokane Polo Club
SPOKANE - Entering this fall, the Mead girls had a lot to prove coming off the school's first state cross country championship in 33 years.
With the main core of runners graduating from last year's state title team, it would appear the Panthers would be going through a rebuild in 2022 despite returning three of its state participants.
That certainly isn't the case so far for the reigning champs.
Led by Charlotte Cullen, the Mead girls put together a dominating team effort at this year's Battle for the 509 at the Spokane Polo Club on Saturday, scoring 63 points to capture the varsity team title by defeating Greater Spokane League foes Ridgeline and Mt. Spokane by 53 points.
Just a few weeks after running a personal best effort at the Mountain West Classic in Missoula, Montana, Cullen was the first Panther to cross the finish line in a time of 18 minutes, 27.1 seconds to place fourth overall over the 5,000 meter course.
“My confidence has definitely been boosted,” Cullen said, who took seventh in the 800 at the 3A state track meet last spring.
“I’ve just been using the speed from track in the last little bits of races like the last 800. Just really use that speed to go for it.”
The Panthers also had three more girls place in the top 15 alongside Cullen to help in scoring: Raegan Borg was sixth (18:50.8), Elle Vanning was eighth (19:11.7) and Olivia Ferrao was ninth (19:20.4).
“We’re getting a lot closer as a team,” Cullen said. “We’re all pushing each other in workouts so the goal this year has been working as a team.”
East Valley's Logan Hofstee took home the individual title as she won her fourth race of her junior season in a personal best time of 17:48.6.
"I'm very happy with it," Hofstee said. "I came here and wanted to run fast. I think I did that."
Hofstee never lost sight of first from the start going out in her first mile in 5:19 to open up an early lead. As the race went along, the gap between her and the second-place runner kept increasing, resulting in a 27 second victory by the end.
Hofstee's teammate Abby Crossley ran a personal best effort of 19:16.80 to place 10th overall.
Central Valley's Nicole Bissell made her way up throughout the race to earn a second-place finish in a new personal best time of 18:15.4. CV took fourth as a team with 123 points.
Mt. Spokane's Charlotte Pedersen followed behind in third, running a time of 18:21.4 to lead the Wildcats to a third-place team finish.
Second-place Ridgeline was led by Alivia Bruno's 11th place personal best run of 19:17.31.
Lakeside's (Nine Mile Falls) Sadie Meyring ran her third personal best effort this season in a time of 18:29.31 to place fifth in the field.
North Central's Kendall Carter ran a season best 19:02.3 to place seventh overall for the Wolfpack.
St. George's Josie McLaughlin, the reigning 2B champion in the 800 and 1,600, finished ninth in a time of 19:15.2.
Noah Holden earned himself an individual win in the boys race and led Mead to the team title over Cheney 53-117.
The Panthers' top runner came away with a new personal best effort of 15:38.5, eclipsing his previous time by 37 seconds from the Fort Steilacoom Invitational on Sept. 17 in Lakewood.
Freeman's Barrett Poulsen, this year's Highlander invite champion, began the race out ahead of Holden and the field in a steady pace that wouldn't pick things up until they headed over to the horse track portion of the course.
Just as they crossed mile one, Poulsen began to fall back while Holden took the lead for the remainder of the race.
“Just around mile one, it just started to feel good,” Holden said. “The front group started to slow down, and I just decided to do about a 10 second surge. At that point, I never saw anybody else.”
Holden led two other Mead boys into the top-10 as Jonathan Lieb ran a personal best 16:20.7 to place fifth and Jacob Marchesseault was ninth in a personal best 16:30.2. Zach Zweisler helped in scoring for Mead with an 18th place run in a personal best effort of 16:48.1.
“We’re starting to get in a groove again,” Holden said. “We had a big fall off with COVID. The whole charisma and attitude on the team kind of went down with COVID, but now it’s starting to come back, and people are getting serious again.”
While Holden never lost sight of first place as an individual, Chewelah's Cole Foster made his way throughout the race and began closing in on Holden in the second-place spot.
Foster may have not caught Holden, but his efforts resulted in a new personal best time of 15:46.84 to place second. He ranks No. 1 now at the 1B/2B level this season.
Foster's teammate Ty Crockett rounded out the top 10 finishers in a personal best time of 16:32.5.
Poulsen held on to finish in third with a time of 15:54.71, besting his previous best by four seconds.
Calvin Hilton led the second-place Blackhawks with a fourth-place effort in a personal best time of 16:00.5.
Gonzaga Prep finished in third with 177 points led by a 22nd place effort from Luke Decker in a personal best time of 16:51.8.
Hayden Blank of Lakeside placed eighth in a time of 16:29 to lead the Eagles to a fourth-place finish with 209 points.
Ephrata's Hayden Roberts took sixth overall in a personal best effort of 16:23.8.
Shadle Park's Luke Hammond grabbed seventh place in a personal best time of 16:27.3
For more results from the 2022 Battle for the 509, click here.
Photos to come later.