Langley, WA - Coming down to their third through sixth runners, the No. 9 Snohomish girls cross country team had more runners finish in the top 30 over rival No. 7 Edmonds-Woodway to win the team title in the District one 3A Championship race at South Whidbey High School, Saturday, Oct. 27.
Edmonds-Woodway was well on their way to win the team title as they had three girls finish in the top 15 with senior Alyssa Hershey (19:34.50) placing 3rd, followed by Senior Stephanie Wroblewski (19:42.01) in 4th and freshman Jemma Wilcox (20:03.44) in 13th.
Snohomish only had two girls in the top 15, in sophomores Ellie Baxter (7th, 19:54.17) and Emily Freeman (12th, 20:03.14) and it would appear the Panthers would finish in second as a team.
The Panthers third through sixth runners turn this race around big time when they had put themselves ahead of the Warriors fourth runner. At this point, it was all about experience that would help Snohomish till the end.
Three of four runners from Snohomish's big pack were seniors, which include Claire Owens (17th, 20:05.73), Megan Campbell (21st, 20:10.75), and Katie Hodkinson (29th, 20:39.89). Junior Anya Bohuta was 23rd running 20:20.87.
Those four girls were a key part to the success the Panthers had last Saturday said head coach David LeWarne.
"We returned quite a bit from last years group," said LeWarne. "Through the race, our back group really moved up so all four filled in some pieces at the end to help us out. This was going to be tough race because Edmonds-Woodway is really good along with some other schools."
LeWarne also said the competitive conference they compete in all season long was a build up into the postseason and can prepare them for any team who they go up against.
"Hopefully what we have done all year long primes us for the state meet next week. Not only being able to go to state, but to race well at state."
From last years sixth place state group, five of the seven runner on this years Snohomish cross country team all have state experience, so it won't be unfamiliar for these ladies in Pasco.
Aside from the winning team, the individual 3A District champion was Shorecrest's own Lillian Visser running a time of 19:02.74.
Visser, who finished second at the WESCO/North Sound Conference Championships, ran well within Edmonds-Woodway's Hershey and Wroblewski going into the big climb up the long hill to the back woods.
As they entered the woods, Visser took the opportunity to pass the Edmonds girls because the trails were so narrow and never saw them again.
"I felt confident in the woods," said Visser. "I usually like running in quieter places because it relaxes me. I took the chance to surge a few paces and than settle into my own pace."
Visser's teammate Lauren Block placed second for the Scotties with a time of 19:22.88. Block said their goal was to finish in the top two, and they did.
Both Block and Visser ran at the state meet last fall with Block placing 23rd and Visser placing 27th.
To wrap up the top 10, Squalicum's Laura Halsell was 6th, Ferndale's Jaclyn Denham was 8th, Arlington's Anne Louise Fernandez was 9th, and Shorecrest's Delaney McCormack was 10th.