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Birger Solberg Recap: Kamiak's Anderson Wins Steeplechase, and Then Some

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Bellingham, WA - For any distance runner, it's a challenge to run in windy conditions.

It's a bigger challenge to run in windy conditions and win one race.

It's an even bigger challenge to run in windy conditions, win a race (or three), and accomplish it all in a three hour span.

For Kamiak's Alicia Anderson, yesterday's weather at the 2019 Birger Solberg Invite at Civic Stadium was a non-factor in her success, winning the Steeplechase, the 1,600 meter, and anchoring the 4 x 800 meter relay team for the Knights.

Kamiak's Alicia Anderson clearing the water barrier in the 2,000 Meter Steeplechase at the 2019 Birger Solberg Invite. (Keenan Gray/The Runner)

We didn't just have wind at the meet. There was sun and rain going back and forth throughout the day.

"The weather was different in all three of them," said Anderson. "It was sunny in the 800, rainy in the earlier one, and now very windy. It was all fun though."

In her first race of the day, Anderson won her third consecutive 2,000 meter Steeplechase at this invite, running a personal best time of 7:20.79.

Her pervious personal best time was set back in her sophomore year when she first won this event at the same invite.

"I wish we had steeplechase at more meets, because I really enjoy running it," said Anderson. "I really like jumping over the barriers because I did hurdles a little bit in middle school, but I dont have the sprint to do it in the 100 or 300 hurdles."

Last year, Anderson sprained her ankle midway through the race because she landed on both feet when she hit the water barrier. Her goal was to avoid doing the same thing this time around.

"I only landed on both feet one time today, but it's like jumping into a pool." Anderson said as she was laughing.

South Whidbey's Kaia Swegler Richmond placed second running 7:39.99 and Ingraham's Daniella Hubble placed third running a personal best time of 7:41.41.

Anderson was back on the track for the 4 x 800 relay in under an hour as she helped the Knights run a 9:50.33 total time, which was almost a 30 second victory over Ballard's relay team.

Kamiak's 4x800 relay team. L to R: Emma Arceo, Alicia Anderson, Leah Clark, Tracey Hatch. (Keenan Gray/The Runner)

Anderson was joined by Emma Arceo, Leah Clark, and Tracey Hatch in the relay.

"I think we all ran great," said Anderson. "Leah got out to a really fast start and Tracey and Emma kept the pace going."

Ballard ran a second place time of 10:19.39 and Jackson's team ran 10:35.9 for third place.

In her last race of the day, Anderson beat Granite Fall's Elizabeth Bassett by five seconds running 5:22.62.

Anderson ran all three races, or leg in the case of a relay, by herself but her initial plan in the 1,600 was to stick with someone who would take it out if she were behind.

"My plan would be to out kick them to be the top runner in the end, but that didn't work out, so I just lead the whole thing," said Anderson. "Today went better than expected winning all three races and I couldn't be happier."

Later on, Maple Ridge's Jade Lenton ran a personal best 2:20.4 in the girl's 800 meter race defeating Sehome's Cameron Hodges, who ran 2:20.96.

One of two races that were close in the meet, Lenton and Hodges were right with each other the first lap. Lenton began surging away with 300 meters to go but Hodges wouldn't back down.

Coming down the homestretch, Lenton took the advantage from Hodges surging past the Sehome runner the last 80 meters and was able to pull off the victory by .56 tenths of a second.

"Going into the race, I wanted to go quick the first lap but it didn't quite go that way," said Lenton.

"The wind didn't make it easy, but I wouldn't say it was huge factor, or at least I was just too focused in the zone to notice."

Bothell's Kerstin Ly ran 2:24.78 to finish in third place in the 800.

Ingraham's Anya Hirschfeld ran a personal best 10:58.78 and defeated Eastside Catholic's Kate Simmons, who ran 10:59.92, in an exciting 3,200 meter race in what some would say was the best finish of the afternoon.

With the winds picking up, Hirschfeld didn't want to be the one to take the race out and would trail behind Eastside's Simmons.

"It had some pretty brutal winds," said Hirschfeld. "I'm actually not a 3,200 runner, so I wasn't really sure how to run this so I just decided to stick behind someone. Luckily it was someone who knew how to run this race."

Anya Hirschfeld (L) and Kate Simmons (R) running in the 3,200 at the 2019 Birger Solberg Invite. (Keenan Gray/The Runner)

Simmons, who finished 14th at the 3A state cross country meet this past fall, ran even splits for the first mile as she was out in front. Her second place time was a personal best.

Hirschfeld did her best to hang on, especially for the fifth and sixth laps where she felt it was the most painful part of the entire race.

Hirschfeld relied on one thing and only one thing in the end to beat Simmons the final 200 meters; her speed.

"I am primarily an 800 and 1,600 runner," said Hirschfeld. "I would say my speed is kind of my thing, so the last 200 meters I was like I can just go for it. That was a big P.R., maybe by 30 seconds."

Hirschfeld was a fifth place finisher in the 1,600 at the 3A state track meet last spring.

Kamiak's Arceo was third in the 3,200 running a personal best 11:20.29.

For more results from this invite, visit:

For more photos from this invite, visit: