SPOKANE - Led by Allie Janke and Leif Swanson, the North Central girls and boys cross country teams defeated GSL foe Central Valley up at Franklin Park on Wednesday in each of their respective races.
Janke won her second race of the season running 17:46.9 for the three-mile race leading the Indians past Central Valley by a score of 29-30.
"It was fun to get back out there racing again," said Janke. "To have the chance actually to have a season no matter what that looks like, it's definitely a blessing, and it feels great to be back. I've missed this so much."
Janke had her first race of the season last week at Cheney where she ran 17:53.7 for the 5k race and led the Indians to wins over Cheney and Mt. Spokane. This past fall, she ran a new 5k personal best of 16:43 in a time trial.
The two-time 3A state cross country champion won't complete the three-peat this season due to no state meet occurring this spring. Still, Janke is making the most out of her last season in a North Central uniform before heading off to the University of Arkansas in the fall to run for the Razorbacks.
"In years past, I used GSL meets as preparation for big invites, but this year the GSL is the big thing," said Janke. "It will be fun to be able to see what I can do at small meets like this one."
Janke will also be competing in her first GSL Championship Meet this spring since her sophomore season since she was still recovering from an injury her junior year as she didn't race until the regional meet.
"It will be cool to compete with my teammates and race against some of my friends within the GSL just to see what we all could do together," said Janke.
Finishing behind Janke were teammates Madison Lee and Kendall Carter as they placed second and third individually for North Central running 19:01.3 and 19:05.3 to help in team scoring.
Katie Ries (20:26.2, 13th) and Julie Greiner (20:54.9, 15th) scored for North Central as well.
Central Valley Nicole Bissell was fourth overall in a time of 19:09.2 as the Bear's top varsity runner.
Other varsity scorers for the Bears were Rubagail Bryntesen (19:28.3, 5th), Alivia Bruno (19:38.2, 6th), Kylee Shakespeare (19:44.9, 7th), and Sarah Pecha (19:45.5, 8th).
On the boy's side, North Central's Swanson ran a first-place of 15:13.9 in the boy's race defeating Central Valley's Alex Wright, who took second in 15:29.2, as the final score between the Bears and Indians was 20-39.
Coming off a win from last week where he ran a 5k personal best time of 15:25 on a tough, hilly course up in Cheney, Swanson had some fatigue coming into this meet despite the course conditions not being as gruesome as they were.
"I think it was a solid day given my current condition," said Swanson.
With this being his first test of the season, the three-lap course was a tight battle between Swanson and Wright for over half the race, making Swanson work quite a bit as the first place runner.
"I was a little stressed coming around the first lap," said Swanson. "Alex was capable of sticking with me, but I remembered as my coach says, 'Kill the crud out of the middle,' and I was able to break away from him."
North Central landed all seven of their varsity runners in the top 10, including three other top-five finishes alongside Swanson's win from Derek Smith (15:55, 3rd), Jonah Aden (16:01.5, 4th), and Zach Kness (16:04.8, 5th).
Ethan Greiner rounded out the scoring for the Indians finishing in seventh running 16:31.7 to place seventh, while Adam Anderson and Micaiah Aden rounded out the varsity seven running 16:36 and 16:47.5 to finish ninth and 10th.
First-year head coach Andrew Kimpel felt his team has picked up a ton of confidence in the first three races of the season coming away with three wins, especially with this one, given the opponent they went up against in Central Valley.
"CV has been a historically amazing team, and so I told the boys we would be tested," said Kimpel.
Kimpel, who was an assistant under Jon Knight and a former runner of the North Central program, took over this program in the midst of a pandemic and has been impressed by his team's performance to this point of the year despite all the challenges they have faced not being able to coach in person for quite some time at a point.
"I have to give credit to my seniors and captains as they kept this boat afloat," said Kimpel. "When we couldn't be around the boys during the summer with all the parameters put into place, they really bought in and got together on their own to train."
Central Valley's other top 10 finishers were Caleb Kartchner placing sixth running 16:05.1, while Ethan Sheneman was eighth running 16:35.6.
Landon Stafford and Giovanni Ferraro were in the top five for the Bears placing 12th and 14th running 16:54.6 and 17:13.
- Central Valley will race Mt. Spokane and University next Tuesday, while North Central will race Mead and Gonzaga Prep next Wednesday.
For More Results From the Meet, Click Here.
Here are Highlights From the Races: