Battle for the 509: Rogers' Boys Continue Hot Trend, "Sail" to Victory

CHENEY - This past Wednesday, the Rogers boy's cross country team pulled off a massive upset in a Greater Spokane League meet over Mead and Lewis Clark. It was one of the biggest wins in the programs history.

How big of a win are we talking? Enough to get running hall of famer and Rogers' alum Gerry Lindgren's attention, as well as the entire GSL.

Not to mention, the team received a phone call from current Gonzaga coach and Mead legend Pat Tyson as he told them these guys are going to be legends.

But if you thought that was something special, winning an invite team title is on a whole new level.

And the crazy thing about it, is it happened.

A tightly contested battle against Mead once again, Rogers pulled out a five point victory, 61-66, at the Battle for the 509 Invite this Saturday, September 21, at the Fairways Golf Course making it two consecutive wins this past week.

Rogers defeats Mead, 61-66, at the Battle for the 509 Invite on Saturday, September 21, at Fairways Golf Course in Cheney. (Keenan Gray/The Runner)

With four seniors and three juniors on the team, this veteran group has proven they can compete with the best in the state and head coach Ken Bell, a graduate of Rogers, couldn't be more happy.

"I thought we had won by a little or lost by a little," said Bell. "We won by five points like we did on Wednesday over Mead, and they're one of the best teams in 4A. They will get better and we're going to get better."

Five runners finished in the top 20 for the Pirates led by Daniel Lee and Issak Chol who finished third and 10th running times of 15:33.98 and 15:55.24.

As Bell lives in California during the summer time, Lee, Chol, and the rest of the Pirates trained hard in the off season on their own without any coaching.

Bell has been coaching for over 40 years and says he has never had a group like this in all his years.

"You can't ask for a nicer bunch of guys," said Bell. "I've coached Olympic athletes, and even girls J.V. basketball, but this is so much fun to see these guys excel like this."

Rogers has had many individuals go on to do great things in year's past like (Gerry) Lindgren and Tracy Walters, but it's been over 50 plus years since the last time the Pirates had a successful team when they won the state title back in 1965.

"A lot of the kids didn't even know who (Gerry) was," said Bell. "A year ago, he did come to the Mooberry Relays and he is same old Gerry I remember when I was a young guy. It was just fun to have him there, and now he is a influential to these guys because now they know who he is."

University's Jacob Easton took first overall in the boys' race running a time of 15:23.84.

With last week's race being such a tight finish at the Highlander Invite between Pullman's Eliason Kabasenche, who finished seventh in 15:44.87, Easton didn't know what to expect this time around facing the 2A's top runner again.

"I was feeling a little winded at the beginning," said Easton. "But then I just got into rhythm. I raced this course last year so I knew I should probably start my kick a little sooner this time and I ended up being able to hold it."

After the victory, Easton has now won his first three races of the early season.