SPOKANE - There is a reason coaches tell their athletes to run all the way through the line. A prime example happened today at the 2019 Highlander Invite in what was one of the best finishes of the day.
With just under 100 meters to go, Kennewick's Geraldin Correa pulled off a miraculous comeback victory beating Colville's Alaina Stone at the line in the 2.5 mile girls varsity race running a time of 14:48.85 at Shadle Park High School.
Correa, who was the runner-up at the 3A state cross meet last fall, came into the first race of the season backing off her normal race pace and went right with the front pack runners for the first half.
"I knew I was going to have good competition today since there are other girls who came ready to go." Correa said.
"I slowed the pace down and stayed behind whoever was in front. At mile 1, I started picking it up because the leader was in front of me and I knew I needed to stay behind her."
Coming onto the track for the final time, Stone, who ran 14:48.99 to finish in second, had a 50 meter lead on Correa and appeared to be well on her way for the win, and would make a big statement coming from the small 1A school runner.
"I was getting really tired towards the end but everyone was saying, 'keep it up, you're almost there.' I looked ahead and saw she was right there and I gave everything I had."
If there is one thing that motivated Correa to surge at the end, it was her brother Johan, the 3A state champion from last season and current Spokane Falls Community College runner.
"I did it for my brother," Correa said. "He always said you need to finish strong even though you feel so tired. You have to focus in on something that reminds you why you are here and why you are doing this, so I knew I had to do it for him."
Riverside's Lizzy Shaw is off to a great start in her senior year with a third place finish in a time of 14:48.91. She was the second finisher from another 1A school.
Richland's Natalie Ruzauskas placed fifth in a time of 15:12.84. Going seventh through 10th were Central Valley's Kylee Shakespeare (15:24.28), Lewis & Clark's Ila David (15:33.91), Mead's Ashley Rose (15:39.15), and West Valley's Annika Esvelt (15:43.09).
In the girl's freshman race, Bridget Burns of Lewis & Clark won her first ever high school competition in a time of 16:14.1.
Just like the varsity race, a group of four girls were neck and neck with each other for the first half and then Burns began separating herself from them.
"After about mile two, I knew I felt really good and decided to push it." said Burns
"It was a really good race. I mean I had a side ache in the beginning and so I just pushed through and felt really strong at the end."
Central Valley had three girls finish in the top 10 with Nicole Bissell (16:30) placing third, Alivia Bruno (16:34.4) placing fourth, and Emma Fredekind (17:25.9) placing 10th.
Other top performers in the freshman race were Cheney's Samantha Habegger (5th, 17:13.4), Freeman's Lily Jones (6th, 17:21.1), Richland's Tylar Wolff (7th, 17:22.3), Mead's Olivia Ferraro (8th, 17:22.4), and Asotin's Lily Denham (10th, 17:49.6).