PASCO - Noah Phillips and Garrett McSheffrey began their running careers in the seventh grade and would go up to the Northwest Christian high school practices to run with the varsity runners to get the experience of what it's like to train as a high school athlete.
Little did they know with the training and help from the coaches and older runners at the high school, Phillips and McSheffrey were going to be two of the best runners at the 1B/2B level by the time they were seniors.
For a sixth year in a row, and fourth time for Phillips and McSheffrey, the Northwest Christian boy's raise the golden runner once again defeating Pope John Paul II, 70-98, on Saturday, November 9, at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
"The best thing you could think of going into high school is winning a state championship as a team," said Phillips. "But then you get four of them and it's just even better.
Phillips, who was the runner-up at last year's state race, finished in fourth running a time of 16:10.7 in one of the most competitive 1B/2B races in quite some time, and then McSheffrey was seventh running 16:22.6.
In the six years of running, McSheffrey felt fortunate enough to the have an opportunity to learn and run with other Northwest Christian standouts his freshman season such as Luke Schilter, who is currently running at Washington State University.
"We are here to build up other runners and include the freshman in," said McSheffrey.
"I looked up to Luke Schilter when I was a freshman, and he helped me out a ton, and it's the same way as it goes all the way down the line. Coming into a great program was pretty cool and everyone is all encouraging and willing to help me run the best I can."
Because the program encourage people to come out like McSheffrey mentioned, Cameron Nielson, who was ninth running 16:25.8, hopped on board his freshman year and learned a ton from not only both Phillips and McSheffrey, but his coaches as well, and eventually turned into a state placer.
"I came in as a dude who knew nothing about running," said Nielson laughing.
"I went to the right coaches and I am very grateful because they were able to develop me and now I'm able to be where I am now. They really just improved me and I took it whole-heartedly."
With the addition of a student from Southern Oregon in Ryland McCullough, an 800 runner who's personal best is 1:57, Northwest Christian appeared to be an unstoppable force this season.
McClullough was 33rd running 17:20.6, and teammates Asher Ingram was 39th (17:29), Anson Chase was 72nd (18:08.1), and Kyle Hoffert was 108th (18:39.3).
In the six years of winning a state team title, head coach Mike Michaels believes this was by far his best team he has ever coached.
"Through the five we have, I think it's safe to say this was an incredible group." said Michaels.
"Not a lot of schools can say they have done what we have accomplished. We've actually been doing it as a boy's and girl's team for a lot longer than six years. If the girls don't win, the guys seem to win, and if the guys don't, the girls will win. It's just has bounced back and fourth I believe for 15 years."
It take's a while to build up a program such as this one and each year Michaels as high aspirations for each of his teams hoping they can be better than the previous one.