Girls State XC Recap: Tahoma wins tiebreaker over Issaquah, wins first state title since 2011
Updated: Nov 9, 2022
Full recap from the 2022 Girls State Cross Country Championships at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
PASCO - It was just a matter of waiting and waiting for Tahoma head coach Jeff Brady.
As individuals began to cross the finish line, team scores began shifting left and right in the live scoring, determining what school's finished in the top four to come away with team trophies.
Once Kylie Castleman crossed the finish line as the Bears' fifth runner, the score capped off at 116 points for Tahoma. It appeared the Bears were back on top the 4A ranks at first. Then Issaquah's score showed up - it was also 116 points.
A tiebreaker was now put into effect to determine this year's 4A state champion, and thanks to Sara Sanders for finishing 53rd ahead of Issaquah's No. 6 runner, the golden runner was finally heading back to Tahoma.
The Bears ran tough together, putting five scorers in the top 40, with a team spread of 33 seconds as they all finished ahead of Issaquah's No. 4-7 runners to secure the 4A state team title for the first time in 11 years.
"All seven performed super well," Brady said. "We won the tiebreaker with No. 6, but it really was all seven-team effort today."
Kate Sanders was the first Bear to cross the finish line, finishing 18th overall in a time of 19:22.8, just missing the podium by two spots. Following her were Julia Stuard (19:45.3) in 28th, Ashlyn Dary (19:52.5) in 34th, Anika Nau (19:53.7) in 36th and Castleman (19:55.6) in 38th to round out Tahoma's scoring.
Sara Sanders' 53rd place run in 20:19.4. broke the tie between Tahoma and Issaquah to give the Bears the win.
Just a year after a disappointing third place finish at the 2021 state championships, the Bears returned to Pasco with vengeance in hope of finally capturing a state championship after so long.
Similar to last year, they were the top-ranked team heading into the meet. This year, they were able to get the job done.
“I knew we would be in the top three,” Brady said. “They had us ranked No. 1 all year, so you hate to have that target on your back and we had it last year. The girls just needed to finish it this year and they did, and they performed really well.”
Second-place Issaquah put up a good fight with Tahoma as the Eagles had two girls finish in the top 10 in Katherina Yahn and Mary Jane Harig. Yahn finished her high school career with a fifth place run of 18:43.1 and Haring came through in eighth at 18:51.2. Clara Tubbs finished among the top 25 individuals in the field for Issaquah, running a time of 19:37.4.
Lewis and Clark captured the third-place trophy with 131 points. Bridget Burns ran her final race in an LC uniform, leading the Tigers with a ninth place run in a time of 19:02.8
Eastlake, the reigning champions, took home fourth place honors, scoring 155 points, with Jane Roos finishing in seventh place in a time of 18:44.
Skyline's Anna Callahan completed her incredible junior season with an individual 4A state title as she ran 18:03.5 for the win over Curtis' Eliza White, the 4A 3,200 champion in the spring, who ran 18:24.3 for second.
"I got out to a pretty fast start," Callahan said, who was second at last year's state meet. "I was expecting there to be a big group around me...Most of the race I had a pretty good lead, so it was a lot of just like, 'Even though you got a gap, you still got to stay in it,'."
Callahan's teammate Rebecca O'Keefe made her way up into the top three with a third-place finish in a time of 18:33.5, besting her sophomore state finish of 87th place.
Central Valley's Nicole Bissell completed a fourth-place finish in a time of 18:36.6.
The Cougars of Central Kitsap ended their storied season on a high note, winning the program's first-ever state cross country title over Gig Harbor 70-89.
Just a week after falling to Gig Harbor at the district meet, the Cougars rallied together to put seven runners in the top 50, with five of them finishing in the top 30 to pull out the win over their South Sound Conference rival.
"This group believes," CK head coach Jeremy Duplissey said. "They care about each other. They don't just run for themselves, they run for each other. My heart is full today."
Clare Herring and Audra Palmer came away with two individual podium finishes to lead CK as Herring finished as the runner-up in a time of 18:24.1 and Palmer was 10th in 19:01.7.
Herring led for majority of the race up until the end when Gig Harbor's Reese Morkert edged her at the line for the individual title in a time of 18:24. Despite falling to her league rival, it's an effort she was really proud of.
"I really wanted to win," Herring said. "Coming into this, like two weeks ago, I was thinking I'm going to win. Then I was in the lead and I was like, 'Wait, I'm actually doing it?'...I'm so happy with what I did. It was the perfect race."
Rounding out the scoring for CK was Taylor Palmer finishing 24th in 19:39.1, Catherine Vlach placing 25th in 19:40.1 and Camryn Bishoff capturing 27th in 19:42.6.
Morkert hung in there with Herring throughout the race to put herself in a position to win the individual title in the end. She came through the first mile in eighth, made her way up to fourth at the two mile then sprinted to the end to beat Herring at the line by .1 seconds.
"I just wanted to leave it all out there and not have any regrets," Morkert said. "Just not having any negative thoughts and believing myself. Just having a positive mindset."
Taylor Sletner and Lejla Carlsonn were the only other podium finishers for the Tides as Sletner secured the 16th, running a time of 19:22.5, and Carlsonn was 17th in 19:23.
Bishop Blanchet improved on last year's ninth place state finish with a third-place trophy and a score of 121 points. Lily LaPorte finished third individually to lead the Bears in a time of 18:41.5.
Stadium finished fourth with 191 points and were led by Madeline McKenna's eighth place effort in a time of 18:56.1.
Snohomish's Paige Gerrard took fourth overall in a time of 18:48.2, beating out Franklin's Sabrina Colbert, who finished fifth in 18:48.4.
East Valley's (Spokane) Logan Hofstee came away with one of the biggest wins of the day in the 2A girls race as she took down defending state champion, Anacortes' Jessica Frydenlund.
The junior becomes the first EV girl's runner to win a state cross country title since the 2015 season when former Knights legend Brittany Aquino accomplished that feat her senior year.
"It means a lot," Hofstee said, who took second last season. "I was crying when I came over the finish line. I always wanted to bring a state championship to East Valley. It's been a long time in the making."
Hofstee and Frydenlund remained neck and neck with each other from the gun as they would trade lead for the first 1.5 miles of the race, with Washougal's Syndee Boothby trailing not too far behind in third. Making their way up throughout the race on to the final lap, both Hofstee and Frydenlund opened up the gap to make it a two-runner race.
With less than a mile to go, Hofstee was able to throw in surges and increase her lead more and more after going around each bend on the back stretch of the course. As she climbed up the hill one last time before hitting the homestretch, Hofstee's lead had grown so much, no one could catch her in the end.
“My plan was just to sit there and execute the last mile,” Hofstee said. “She can outkick me, so the further away we were apart, the better.”
Frydenlund completes her storied high school career with a runner-up finish in a time of 18:23.8.
Washougal's Boothby and Elle Thomas finished third and fourth, respectively, in times of 18:55.5 and 19:14.6. The Panthers were fourth in the team standings with 164 points.
Foss's Katie Mingus closed in fifth in a time of 19:15.1.
For the second year in a row, the Sehome girls took down Northwest Conference foe Anacortes in another thrilling upset for the state championship as the Mariners beat the Seahawks 54-62.
Led by Julie Gill, the Mariners put six runners in top 25, with three of them cracking the top 16. Gill earned herself a seventh-place finish in a time of 19:25, while Abby Rusk was 14th in 19:49.2 and Sydney Harri was 16th in 19:56.6.
"It was really fun," Gill said. "We worked as a team and that's what gets you through the race. Everyone did amazing."
Other top performers for the Mariners included Evelyn Buetow (19th, 19:59.4), Marcella Leita (22nd, 20:11.5) and Kaia Szymczak (25th, 20:17.4).
Along with Frydenlund, the Seahawks put two more on the podium stand with Carolyn Chambers placing sixth in 19:20.9 and Casey Lemrick earning 11th in 19:44.9.
Ellensburg took third place, scoring 118 points behind the leading efforts of June Nemrow running 19:54.7 to finish 15th.
In a battle between east and west, the Lakeside girls prevailed to win the program's first state championship since the 2018 season as the Eagles beat the Overlake Owls 94-101.
Sadie Meyring was the lone podium finisher for the Eagles as came away with a second-place finish in a time of 18:58.9.
"It's amazing," Meyring said. "I love my team and I can't believe we did it."
While the rest of the team didn't make the podium stand, Lakeside did have four more scorers in the top 40 with Mikayla Buckley (20:57.7) finishing 26th, Team Simonson (20:59) taking 28th, Olivia Divine (21:17.4) earning 31st and Jillian Owen (21:42.7) rounding it out with a 39th place run.
"They really got it done on state day," Lakeside head coach Steve Olson said. "Today was another example of just racing well and racing smart."
Overlake didn't have any podium placers either but managed to get four girls in top 30, led by Talia Willson finishing 20th in a time of 20:36.2.
Medical Lake scored 122 points to place third as a team. Kayla Ramsey and Jenna Castro earned top 16 finishes with Ramsey placing fifth in 19:10.4 and Castro earning 13th in 20:03.8.
Naches Valley was fourth with 141 points. The Rangers were led by Brooke Miles' sixth place run of 19:44.1 and Taryn Huck's 14th place run of 20:08.
Seton Catholic's Alexis Leone defended her individual title by winning the race by 36 seconds in a time of 18:22.3.
Klahowya's Natalie Oathout was third in 19:02.9. Wapato first-year runner Diana Camargo was fourth in 19:04.1.
Months after winning her first two state titles in track as a freshman, St. George's Josie McLaughlin put together another stellar performance to end the fall as she won her first cross country state title.
The sophomore, ranked No. 1 all year long in 1B/2B, dictated the pace from the start and never lost sight of first as she went on to run a winning time of 19:40.4 for a solo effort.
"I've been told to start out hard and so I just did the first mile trying to break away from the pack," McLaughlin said. "Then I just settled into a pace for the last two miles."
McLaughlin led the Dragons to a 2B team title in track last spring behind winning the 800 and 1,600 races. She was also a member of the program's sixth consecutive 4x400 relay championship team.
With her win this fall, her state championship total is up to five now in what has already been a storied high school career to this point.
"I think this one feels overall the best," McLaughlin said. "I got fourth last year...and I think my coach (Rick Riley) really wanted me to win and I'm glad that I made him proud."
Joining McLaughlin on the podium for the Dragons was eighth grader Bella Buckner as she finished fourth in 20:27.7. Both girls helped St. George's to a third-place team trophy, scoring 60 points.
Northwest Christian's (Lacey) Madison Ingram finished second to McLaughlin as she ran 20:14.3.
Leki Albright led the Liberty Bell Mountain Lions to a fourth-place finish with 100 points behind her third place run in 20:24.2.