ARLINGTON - If you thought last year's Nike Hole in the Wall Invite was spectacular, the 36th annual brought even more this season with record setting numbers.
A total of 4,500 runners and 146 schools were in attendance from as far as Alaska, British Columbia, California, Nevada, Oregon and, of course, Washington state, at Lakewood High School on Saturday, October 12, for what is now considered the "fastest race in the Evergreen State."
For the third time in the last four weeks, Eisenhower's Jonas Price broke another course record placing first in the Varsity Division 1 boy's race running a time of 14:49.9, surpassing Woodinville alum Luke Houser's time of 14:57, in which he ran last year.
With a new personal best mark, Price's time ranks him 14th in the nation and first in the Pacific Northwest passing up the 2018 Nike BorderClash champion, Evan Holland of Ashland, Oregon.
Price felt this would be challenging week to break the course record because of the tough workouts he went through before heading over for the meet.
With this being his first and last appearance at the Hole in the Wall, the Eisenhower senior didn't worry about what time he ran, as long as it was under 14:57.
"It wasn't the time I wanted but at least I got the course record," said Price.
"This past week of training has been tough. Even my coach said my legs weren't going to be 100 percent today, so we didn't know how it would play out. I'm just happy with how it went."
Coming out in a strong first mile, Price was at 4:30 and felt good about the start of his race.
This would later come back to bite him as he began to feel the aches and pains from the hard training in his legs midway through.
"My legs started to tighten up as usual," said Price. "Coming around the second mile, I was at 9:20 and I told myself I just have to gut this last mile out. I kept looking back thinking the kid from Alaska was getting closer to me, but that just motivated me to keep pushing it."
Away from running, Price has become a celebrity for the running world in Washington as everyone wants to watch him race. Most people would leave after watching their team run, but plenty of folks stayed around to watch history be made.
The attention doesn't bother Price, but it's something he is not used to.
"I've never had to deal with this before," said Price laughing.
"It's kind of weird hearing my name while I race and wondering who said it. I think it's fine. If people want to come talk to me, I'm a friendly guy and I don't mind talking to others. I just think it's cool to meet other runners."
Dimond's Santiago Prosser, this year's champion at the Alaska 4A state cross country championships, finished in second running a time of 15:12.1. Prosser ran 15:14.1 last weekend in his state championship victory.
Sam Gieger of 4A No. 2 Camas ran a new personal best time of 15:15.5 to place third overall, the best performance of the season for him after struggling earlier on in September.
Evan Jenkins was sixth behind Gieger for the Papermakers running also a personal best time of 15:26.6.
Jesuit of Portland, Oregon took home the team title scoring 72 points led by Declan O'Scannlain ninth place finish in 15:33.9 for a personal best.
3A No. 4 Bishop Blanchet was second with 110 points and their top runner was Kai Gundlach placing fifth running a personal best time of 15:25.1. 4A No. 1 Tahoma was third, led by Ethan Martin's eighth place finish in a personal best 15:33.8, scoring 150 points.
Freshman phenom Kate Peters of Lincoln from Portland, Oregon ran a personal best 16:58.7 to defeat last year's record holder Julia David-Smith of Issaquah, who placed second running a Washington State leading time and personal best 17:07.6, in the Varsity Division 1 girl's race.
A slow progression from the start saw Peters way in the back of the pack, but after mile one, a sprinting surge out of nowhere past the "Hole in the Wall" got her into the lead pack with David-Smith and King's' Naomi Smith.
"I started off slower and then slowly made my way up through the race," said Peters. "Once I got to the front, I just stayed with the top two, hung, and then kicked at the end."
With the hype being around Issaquah's David-Smith and King's' Smith match-up, Peters came into the race and stole the spotlight from Washington State's top two distance runners.
On the final 250 meters, Peters heard David-Smith breathing loudly and saw the opportunity to just crush the last stretch of the race.
"(David-Smith) was breathing hard in front of me, so I thought maybe I'll just go right there and I was able to make a gap and win." said Peters.
This new personal best ranks Peters 10th in the nation, joining some elite company like North Rockland's Katelyn Tuohy, who is second with a time of 16:22.8. Denton Guyer's Brynn Brown has the fastest time in the country at 16:12.
Peters believes she can run even faster later on going into the Oregon State Championships.
"My goal is to maybe to get under 16:30 by the end of the season. That be pretty cool." said Peters.
Despite Peter's first place finish, fellow Portland school, Jesuit, defeated the Cardinals by a single point, 86-87, to take home the team title.
Chloe Foerster was the first place Crusaders top runner placing third in a time of 17:18.8, a personal best.
3A No. 1 North Central, the 2018 Hole in the Wall champions, placed third as a team scoring 111 points. Erinn Hill was fourth for the Indians running a personal best mark of 17:35.7.
King's' Smith was in contention for the first half of the race but fell off after the two mile mark and finished sixth with a time of 17:37.5.
Eastside Catholic's Kate Simmons placed eighth running a personal best 17:51.5, and Ellenburg's Leah Holmgren ran a 2A state leading time of 17:58.3, a personal best.
In Other Races:
Lynden's Isaiah Ellis last second surge at the finish line gives him the win, and a new school record, running a personal best time of 15:53.7 in the Varsity Division 2 boy's race.
"It felt incredible to break the record," said Ellis on his performance. "I've always wanted to do it and I couldn't believe I did it."
Lynnwood's Micah Murphy led for the entire race until the final 10 meters crossing the line second in a time of 15:53.8 behind Ellis.
"I knew if I just kept close with him, I could outkick (Murphy) in the end," said Ellis. "I know I have a good kick, I didn't know anything about his, but that's what I did to win."
Sehome's Zach Munson was third overall running a personal best 15:59.1.
Maya Nichols of Central Kitsap led from start to finish in the Varsity Division 2 girl's race winning in 18:34.
"I just figured I go out with the top few girls and see how it would go down," said Nichols on her early racing strategy.
"Depending on how fast that was going to be, I was going to try my best to stick with them or separate eventually which is what ended up happening."
South Whidbey's Kaia Swegler-Richmond took second in 18:50.5 for a personal best, and Port Angeles' Kynzie DeLeon was third running 19:05.3.
The Frosh/Soph boy's champions were Meadowdale's Deklund DeBell running a personal best 17:00.5 in the Division 1 race, followed by Lincoln's JahAllah Van running 17:26.2 in the Division 2 race.
For more results from this invite, visit: https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/156439/results
For more photos from this invite, visit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/therunnerwa/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1416684511815454