Last Lap Surge Pulls LC's Smith to Victory in 4A Race

PASCO - All season long, Lewis & Clark's Wil Smith had been behind Eisenhower's Jonas Price in the spotlight for Washington's top high school distance runner.


The two would go to battle in Pasco this past Saturday, November 9, at the Sun Willows Golf Course for arguably the best match-up of the year on the boy's side.


With Price being the clear favorite, Smith had nothing to lose and was able to take down the state's No. 1 runner running a personal best time of 15:03.3 on the tough, hilly course in the final high school race of his career.

Lewis & Clark's Wil Smith won the 4A state individual cross country title on November 9 in Pasco. (Keenan Gray/The Runner)

Smith knew the only way to be successful in this race came down to who was mentally the toughest since it is the time of year where everyone wants to be at their highest level of running


"I never panicked the whole time running," said Smith on his race. "I told myself this was my peak race of the season, so I knew I wasn't going to let myself down."


University's Jacob Easton took an early lead coming through the first mile at 4:45.7, followed by Eisenhower's Price in second running 4:45.8, and then Smith in third at 4:46.1.


Going into mile two, Easton had fallen back into third as Smith would takeover the lead with Price still stuck in second place as they would both be coming through at 9:39.8.


Knowing how well Price has run in the second half of every single race this season, it was about go time for him to make his move, but Smith had other plans.


Smith had a burst of speed on the final loop past the two mile mark and created about a 20 meter gap between him and Price, which would eventually turn into 100 meters by the time he had crossed the finish line.


"Coming around that horseshoe, I finally got into the lead as I got a stride or two on him and that's when I made my move," said Smith.


"I really respect (Jonas) as a runner. I knew this race was going to be tough and we have raced each other a lot the last three years, and I have enjoyed racing him. He's a tough guy and always make me work."


Along with Smith's first place finish, Lewis & Clark finished third as a team scoring 123 points. Patrick North finished 10th with a time of 15:25.1 for the Tigers.


The Greater Spokane League also stole the show with three others runners finishing in top 10.


University's Easton made his way back up to second running 15:09.9 and Central Valley's Tyler Hunter was third running 15:11.7.


Central Valley also finished fourth as a team scoring 126 points.


Gonzaga Prep's Jonas Bears made a huge jump up to fifth place with a time of 15:21.2.


With the support Smith had been receiving from all his GSL opponents, it says a lot about Smith as a person and how well respected he is to the other schools.


"All the kids in the GSL wanted to see a GSL kid win it," said Smith.


"Just all the people supporting me the last few years, I wanted to run well for them because I knew it was going to be tough to win. I really love the Spokane running culture. It's really amazing."


Caleb Lloyd of Mead was another GSL runner to make the podium placing 13th in a time of 15:30.6.


Other top individual performers were Inglemoor's Cooper Laird (7th, 15:23.5), Eastmont's Jarred Barnes (11th, 15:27.9), Olympia's Ethan Coleman (12th, 15:28.7), and Jackson's Brenden Charbeneau (14th, 15:31.2).


It was also a historical day for the Camas Papermakers as the program claimed their first ever state cross country team title scoring 53 points to defeat rival Tahoma, who was second with 97 points.

Camas Papermakers win the 4A state team title in Pasco on November 9, at the Sun Willows Golf Course. Photo courtesy of Same Geiger.

Evan Jenkins and Sam Geiger placed fourth and sixth for the Papermakers running 15:18 and 15:22.7. Also making the podium from Camas was Luc Utheza, who rounded up the top 16 running 15:37.9.


Many great individuals have passed through the program like Daniel Maton (2019), Yacine Guermali (2016), and Shane Geiger (2007), but there hasn't been a team more dominate in program history than the 2019 Camas boys, which will reflect how the program moves on in the future according to head coach Laurie Porter.


"We've had several solid individual guys come through and I think it's definitely impacted all the other guys to train harder and strive for excellence," said Porter.


"This group here are going to be the guys that will impact the guys in the future. They are all young, and I think the success is going to carry on. It's going to be a good tradition the next few years."


Spencer Thyman and Austin Weese were the Papermakers fourth and fifth runners placing 20th and 29th with times of 15:49.2 and 15:52.8. Sixth and seventh runners were Carson Frawley and Connor Hayward who placed 122nd and 133rd running 16:56 and 17:07.7.


Second place Tahoma was led by Ethan Martin and Brian Martinez who placed ninth and 15th running times of 15:24.4 and 15:37.1.


For more results from the 2019 4A Boys Cross Country State Championships, visit: http://wiaa.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=1147

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