ISSAQUAH - From early rain in the morning, to sunny skies in the afternoon, the 2019 Bellevue Invite was full of exciting moments on the boy's and girl's side.
With different types of terrain from grass, to sand, to concrete, and gravel, two of the top runners in the state put together some of the best performances once again at Lake Sammamish State Park on September 28, despite the course being muddy and slick.
Eisenhower's Jonas Price ran a time of 14:59.7 for the 5,000 meter varsity 1 & 2 race and collecting his fourth win of the year.
From last week at Fort Steilacoom where he won in a course record time of 14:50, Price wanted to accomplish the same thing again this week, only this time it would be a tougher task.
"Looking at the course this morning, I knew this was going to be tough," said Price. "The course was all muddy and I didn't know if I was going to get a good push off. It didn't really bother me going into the race."
Crossing mile one around 4:40, Price was well out front for a good 75 to 100 meters on his next opponent.
It would become more challenging running the race by himself later as the terrain kept getting worse and worse.
"The start of the race I was feeling good," said Price. "On the backstretch of the course, it was just super tough, especially coming around off the sand. I would say it was an alright day."
With mud flying everywhere making it hard to accelerate on the back of the course, this was going to be mentally one of the toughest days for the Eisenhower senior.
"In a tough race like this, I just have to keep thinking about pushing through and that I can't slow down now." said Price.
As we cross the midway mark of the season coming up, Price has established he is truly the best in the state this season, but doesn't certainly act like it.
"I am the top runner in the state for now," said Price. "But there are guys like Lewis & Clark's Wil Smith and Kamiakin's Isaac Teeples that can come out of no where. It's still early in the season so we will see by the end of the year."
West Valley of Yakima's Brayden Packard and Kamiakin's Teeples were the two other top finishers placing second and third in times of 15:28.9 and 15:31.8.
Issaquah's Julia David-Smith won the varsity 1 & 2 race on the girl's side in a time of 17:26.3, which is now the new No. 1 time in the state of Washington for all classifications.
Just like Price's expectations, David-Smith thought with the previous races that went on in the morning would make the course turn into ugly conditions.
"I would say the footing was good other than a couple of puddles." said David-Smith. "I thought it would be more trashed because it has been raining so much here recently."
David-Smith came through the first mile in a blistering time of 5:25 with the hope she could repeat the same thing again on mile two.
"The plan was to go out in 5:20 and end the same exact way, and just let the middle be whatever it is." said David-Smith.
David-Smith said she was well relaxed in the middle of the race and began to pick it up once again hitting the final mile. Towards 800 meters to go, a new gear was about to be discovered.
"With 800 to go, I started my second kick," said David Smith. "In the last straight away, I did my final sprint and just took off. I think it went pretty well."
In each of her wins this season, David-Smith has won by an average amount of almost 2 minutes.
Next week will be her first test of the season when she meets Bellarmine Prep's Ella Borsheim, the defending 4A state cross country champion, at the Curtis Invite. The following week after Curtis is the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite, which she won last season, where she will face King's own Naomi Smith.
Katherine Forsberg ran 18:25.8 to finish in second place for invite host Bellevue. Port Angeles' Lauren Larson was fourth running 18:32.1.
In other races, Kamiakin's Grayson Wilcott won the boy's varsity 3 & 4 race in a time of 16:04 and Port Angeles' Kynzie DeLeon won the girl's varsity 3 & 4 race in a time of 19:25.7.
For many athletes on a cross country team, being a third runner typically means you don't necessarily win races all the time. With the way the invite is set up, this gives numerous athletes at different levels a chance to win like Kamiakin's Wilcott.
"It felt really good and glad we decided to come here," said Wilcott. "I knew there was different flights and my coach said I had a good chance to win. I knew that and was confident about it."
For Port Angeles' DeLeon, it was a different experience for her as she normally runs with her teammate, Lauren Larson, throughout many meets.
"I just really wanted the shirt," said DeLeon with a big smile. "It was exciting to win since I don't come in first a lot. I just want to have a last good year even though this my second year of cross country. I just want to keep improving from last years times."
Bishop Blanchet's Adam Flood won the boy's varsity 5 & 6 race running 16:06.5 and Kamiakin's Jonathan Lagonegro won the boy's varsity 7 &8 race running 16:36.1.
Holy Names Emma Velling ran 19:34.9 to win the girl's varsity 5 & 6 race, and Eastside Catholic's Hailey ran 20:35.2 to win the girl's varsity 7 & 8 race.
Where to Next?
The Runner will travel to down to the Palm Springs of Washington in Yakima for the 46th Annual Sunfair Invite at Franklin Park hosted by Eisenhower.
For more results from this invite, visit: https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/156728/results
For more photos from this, visit: invite:https://www.facebook.com/pg/therunnerwa/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1403776863106219