Lakeside's Blank and Mulch win Division 2 races.
RICHLAND - While the 52nd annual Max Jensen Richland Invite was smaller in numbers from previous seasons, this year's field of competitors was possibly the best to ever run in one of the longest-running invites in the state of Washington.
An intriguing hopeful matchup between Kamiakin's Isaac Teeples and Riverside's Jamar Distel in the boy's division 1 varsity race turned into another incredible solo outing by Distel, running a time of 14:12.6 for the three-mile course at Carmichael Middle School.
"Originally, I was planning to run off Isaac, but since he wasn't here, it was just all on me battling with the clock," said Distel. "It was a tough race, but I am happy with how I did."
Just like any of his races this season, it was Distel from start to finish as athletes continued to struggle to keep up with him as he clocked in a 4:30 mile on the first loop of the course. He then kept his pace controlled as possible with how far he was ahead of the field.
“This was just another day of racing,” said Distel, whose time ranks 12th in the country. “This was no better than I expected, no worse than I expected. Right now, it’s all about focusing on state and hopefully getting the job done there."
Mead's Brycen Gardner was the only other runner to join Distel under sub-15 minutes, clocking a second-place personal best time of 14:12.6.
Lewis and Clark's Brian Bowers and Evan Bruce were third and fourth running personal best times of 15:12.89 and 15:14.89, while teammate Charles Ledwith was sixth running 15:23.38, also a personal best. Seattle Prep's Carter Joy was fifth, running a personal best 15:22.72.
Mead scored 86 points to win the division 1 team title over Greater Spokane League rival Lewis and Clark (2nd, 91) and 3A opponent Seattle Prep (3rd, 93).
Following a close run with two of Idaho's top runners at the Battle for the 509, Kennewick's Macy Marquardt came away with an enormous win in the girl's division one race, clocking a personal best time 16:23.7 in a solo effort, the ninth-fastest mark in the nation.
“I wanted to drop the eagerness and just go out there and have fun,” said Marquardt. “I always have the inner critic that’s worse than anyone in existence. I told myself if I could just combine that little push in my head and enjoy being out here, that’s what will fuel me.”
Her previous best run was back in her sophomore season when she ran 18:32.8, finishing in 17th place.
It was the final time Marquardt would compete at Carmichael, dating back to her middle school days, but she didn't realize it till the conclusion of the meet. A typical moment like this would bring tears to a senior. For Marquardt, it was about reminiscing on past races.
“I didn’t think it was bitter at all. I thought it was sweet,” said Marquardt. “I’ll miss running out here and the experience of it, but I’m looking forward to what’s ahead of me.”
East Valley's Logan Hofstee continues to have a breakout year in her first season with the Knights as she was second behind Marquardt, running a personal best 17:42.20. North Central's Kendall Carter was third in a personal best 18:01.38.
Twins Alanna and Alexis Parker placed fourth and fifth for Mead running personal best times of 18:04.83 and 18:11.99. Their teammate Raegan Borg cracked the top 10 as well, placing eighth in a personal best 18:30.46.
Mead won the overall team title scoring 35 points to best Kennewick (96). Wenatchee was third with 120 points.
Lakeside (Nine-Mile Falls) had a pair of come-from-behind winners in the division 2 races, with Hayden Blank taking the boy's race and Matise Mulch in the girl's race.