Pasco, WA - All season long, King's High School's Naomi Smith race plans have been to lead from the start of the race and to never look back till she crosses the finish line victoriously.
Although the last race of the season was the 1A state championships, there wasn't going to be any special racing strategies added to Smith's goal to win the individual crown in her second season of cross country.
Once again, she fell through with her plan and became the 2018 1A girls state champion running a time of 18:16.7 this past Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Smith becomes the fourth girl from King's High School to win an individual cross country title and the first since Olivia Thomas won it back in 2007. The two other girls were Amy King (1995) and Rachel Strand (2002).
"I am so thankful for the coaches that put the time and energy into coaching me," said Smith. "I was so excited to show all the hard work that I have done to get here and it feels great."
Coming into the state meet, Smith won her first district title and had the number one time in the state at the 1A level.
Smith was a clear favorite by a long shot, but Colville's Alaina Stone wanted to prove many wrong and show she was the best 1A runner in the state for a day.
As the gun fired off, Stone jetted out front taking the lead the first half mile of the race with Smith trailing behind her.
Smith's coach told her before the race that she shouldn't be surprised if someone other than herself would take the race out fast and try to hang on as long as possible.
"It was kind of nice to chase (Alania) until the mile mark. I know she is an aggressive runner just from racing her in track so I wasn't super surprised to see her do that. I just told myself 'you're going to be on her before you get to the mile' and I did that."
Heading into mile two, Smith settled into the lead with a four second difference between her and Stone and by the end of the race, she had won by nine seconds.
It wasn't a personal best for Smith because she said the new course was a lot tougher than the old course since it had more hills.
"By the end, it was about holding onto the lead. I tried not to waste any energy on the uphill's and just using those downhills to accelerate. That race went better than expected and it was amazing."
Head coach Rod Wilcox says Smith is now amongst the legends to have run through the cross country program at King's High School.
Going with Smith's state championship win, the King's girls also finished second as team scoring 114 points.
Taking the overall team title was Lakeside Nine Mile Falls scoring 108 points and were led by the two podium finishes from Madelyn Buckley (14th, 19:37.7) and Matise Mulch (16th, 19:40.5).
Head coach Steve Olson emphasized good racing and even splits for his girls team because of the difficulty of this new course.
"You can't take that first mile hard or you are going to tank it later on," said Olson. "The girls ran the way they have all season long. Wherever the team is at by the halfway point, were always way better than that at the finish."