State XC Girls Recap: Mead Girls Win First State Title Since '88

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

Recap from the 2021 state cross country girls championships

Mead's Charlotte Cullen (1583) and Alexis Parker running in the 3A girl's state race at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

PASCO - 33 years.

That's how long it's been since the Mead girl's cross country team had last lifted the golden runner atop a state podium. There were a couple of runner-up finishes in the years after claiming the program's only state title, but the sight from the top of the podium had drifted away -- until this year.

For the first time since 1988, the Mead girls were the queens of the 3A ranks once again as they hoisted up the golden runner and celebrated their second state title in program history at the Sun Willows Golf Course on Saturday.

The Panthers scored 114 points and had two podium finishers in Alanna Parker (9th, 18:56.20) and Charlotte Cullen (20th, 19:23.30) to beat out Central Kitsap (155 points) for the title.

“I am so happy for my team, and I think we all had great races,” Cullen said. “It felt amazing to be up there as an individual, but it was really my team that put in the effort to be up there together.”

Three other Mead runners finished amongst the top 60 as individuals in Raegan Borg (22nd, 19:28.60), Alexis Parker (37th, 19:48.10), and Sophia Ferraro (59th, 20:09.10). As the only team with five scoring runners in the top 60, the Panthers proved it was their depth that captured them another state title in the end.

“Of all the years I’ve coached, this is truly a deserving group,” said Mead head girls coach Dori Whitford. “They have worked harder than anybody I’ve ever seen, and they are a class act about it.”

Runner-up Central Kitsap scored 155 points behind the efforts of Camryn Bishoff, who finished 21st in a time of 19:27.50. Gig Habor was third with 162 points, followed by Seattle Prep in fourth, scoring 167.

The Girl's Runner of the Year and Kennewick's own Macy Marquardt capped off her senior season winning the individual title by nearly a minute, running the best time of the day in 17:31.60 for the 5,000-meter race.

"It's really cool to have my hard work finally pay off," said Marquardt. "To not have this talent my whole life and be able to work for it and see it pay off, I'm super grateful for it."

The Kennewick senior was already 16 seconds ahead of the field by mile one when she rolled in at 5:26.9, then increased her lead as the race went on before she crossed the line just 58 seconds of the second-place finisher: Seattle Prep's Lily O'Donoghue-McDonald (18:29.40).

"I just had to run smart and be calm," said Marquardt. "There were some parts of the course where I had to run it a certain way, and that was it."

It's simple enough. Marquardt has been running like this all season long. No competition in sight, proving she was the most dominant runner in Washington this season.

Other top individual performances included Bishop Blanchet's Lily LaPorte (3rd, 18:43.80), Peninsula's Hannah Lee (4th, 18:45.80), and Auburn Riverside's Julia Couch (5th, 18:50.30).


Borsheim Captures First Title Since Freshman Year

Bellarmine's Ella Borsheim running down the homestretch in the 4A girl's state race at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

The journey back to the top of the state podium was a long three years for Bellarmine's Ella Borsheim, but she can finally call herself a state champion once again.

While battling it out with Skyline's Anna Callahan and Sydney Collier for two miles of the race, Borsheim was able to pull away from the Spartans duo to win her second 4A state title in a time of 17:51 in her final high school cross country race in a Bellarmine uniform.

Whether it was placing 16th her sophomore year after winning it all or having an entire junior season taken away due to a worldwide pandemic, Borsheim has been able to learn a ton over four years running in high school.

"One of the biggest things I've realized throughout my high school career is you can't always expect it to be a linear progression," said Borsheim, who will run for the University of Washington next fall.

"Something always comes up, and you just have to expect the unexpected when that happens. I was disappointed my sophomore year, but I got back to work and started training hard again. After a COVID year, it just makes this win sweeter."

You could see the difference in Borhseim's training over two years since that 2019 state meet. She traveled outside of Washington to race better competition and gained more confidence in her ability as a racer to be the best her senior year. And she was the best with the No. 1 time in the state of 16:44.

"I'm super happy right now with how my training has been," said Borsheim. "I'm just trying to enjoy my last high school cross country season and then my last high school track season before I go off to college next year."

Skyline's Callahan was second behind Borsheim, running 17:58.50, followed by teammate and Freshman of the Year Collier in third running 18:06.60. Lewis and Clark's Audrey Thronson was fourth running 18:27.10, while Mt. Si's Hailey Cossey rounded out the top five running 18:52.70 to place fifth.

In the team race, Eastlake managed to pull off one of the biggest shockers of the day, taking down Tahoma and Lewis and Clark for the 4A title scoring an impressive 64 points with four runners finishing on the podium stand.

"We knew we had a special group coming into this year," said Eastlake head girls coach Troy Anderson. "We knew we could be in contention with Lewis and Clark and Tahoma, but this performance blew our minds today."

Three Eastlake freshmen secured spots on the podium to lead the way for the Wolves as Jane Roos crossed the finish line first, placing ninth overall in a time of 18:54.10. Trailing behind Roos was Fiona Wolf (13th, 19:04.80) and twin sister Sally Roos (14th, 19:09). Emily Van Valkenburg, who made her season debut after missing the entire year due to a stress fracture in her sacrum, was second for the Wolves placing 11th in a time of 18:59.50.

"It's been an insane year," said Van Valkenburg, who will run for Oregon State next fall. "I was on the Zero-G for the middle of the season, and in the last couple of weeks, I've been able to run three days a week."

Lewis and Clark finished second with 104 points, and Tahoma was third with 110 points. Bellarmine rounded out the top four with 128 points.


Sehome Gets Back at NWC foe for 2A Title

Sehome's Kaia Szymczak (1356) and Evelyn Buetow (1352) running in the 2A girl's state race at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

One week after losing the District 1/2 title to their Northwest Conference foe by three points, the Sehome girls got back at Anacortes to win the 2A state team title by a score of 64-65, winning the program's 11th state title.

"All year, we were just making good adjustments because it wasn't the easiest year," said Sehome head girls coach Kevin Ryan. "We had some ups, we had some downs, and we kept having learning experiences, and they didn't get discouraged."

The Mariners had two podium finishers leading to their state title win as Kaia Szymczak was seventh running 19:12.40, and Julie Gill was 14th running 19:37.20. Between their whole varsity team, Sehome had all seven runners finish in the top 40.

"I'm really proud of how all of us have done this season," said Szymczak. "I think we all learned a lot this year, and I think it was a chance to show what we were going to do, and it was amazing we pulled it off."

Washougal finished in third with 125 points behind the efforts of Elle Thomas (6th, 19:02) and Sydney Boothby (9th, 19:16.90). Fort Vancouver was fourth with 164 points, the program's first-ever state trophy.

While Anacortes didn't get the team title, the Seahawks' own Jessica Frydenlund came away with the individual title running 17:58.90, becoming the first girl in school history to accomplish the feat.

"Right until I got on the start line, I was nervous throughout the whole day," said Frydenlund. "I honestly didn't think I was going to get first, but because I did all the training during the summer, that's how I got better, and I did it."

East Valley's Logan Hofstee was right with Frydenlund for two miles but settled for second place, running 18:18.70 in her first state race.

Shelton's Alauna Carstens, the Most Improved award winner, inched out Ellensburg's Kate Laurent for third running 18:36.40. Laurent was right there at 18:36.60, finishing in fourth, matching her best finish at the state meet. Sequim's Riley Pyeatt was fifth running 18:50.


Leone, Seton Catholic Girls Sweep 1A Titles

Seton Catholic's Alexis Leone (right) battling with Meridian's Kayla Aalpoel in the 1A girl's state race at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

Virtual state champions was an excellent way to end a COVID season for the Seton Catholic girls in the spring, but to finally come away with the school's first-ever legitimate state title was on a whole other level.

Led by Alexis Leone's state individual win, the Cougars scored 52 points to win the 1A title over Medical Lake.

Leone battled all race long with Meridian's Kayla Aalpoel. The top two 1A runners were neck-and-neck with one another for the first two miles of the race. When Aalpoel would try to make a move, Leone would respond, never giving up the lead at any point during the race.

When it was suddenly done, Leone crossed the finish line 18:05.10, while Aalpoel came through in 18:07.40 for second place.

"She has been killing it out there," said Leone's teammate Lara Carrion. "It's a blessing to have her on the team, and I'm excited to see what she can do in her next two years."

Carrion, who was third in the 2019 state meet and was the virtual state champ last spring, finished seventh running 19:31.50.

"This was the best way to kick off my senior year," said Carrion on winning the team title. "I'm super proud of this team for getting through rough parts at the beginning of the year, but we were able to recover and stuck together to finish this off."

Second-place Medical Lake scored 83 points, led by Grace Grubaugh's 21st place run of 20:25.10. La Center was third with 101 points, and Bush was fourth with 128.

Top individuals throughout the race included Lakeside's (Nine Mile) Matise Mulch (3rd, 19:13.40), Deer Park's Layne Lathrop (4th, 19:19.90), and Port Townsend's Aliyah Yearian (5th, 19:24.30).


Asotin's Overberg Rollercoaster Career Ends in State Title win

Asotin's Chloe Overberg sprints down the homestretch in the 1B/2B girl's state race at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

For Asotin's Chloe Overberg, the journey to state champion was one full of ups and downs.

As a freshman, Overberg showed a bright future ahead in her career as she placed fifth overall in the 2018 1B/2B state meet. Then she didn't race all season as a sophomore, and her junior year was taken away due to COVID. But it all led to her winning the 2021 title her senior season in a time of 18:36.

"I've been waiting for this moment forever," said Overberg. "Through every hard workout and long run, I've been thinking of this moment, and I'm so happy I got it done."

While there was a job that still needed to be done, Overberg was able to soak in every moment of the race, realizing it was her final time running in an Asotin cross country uniform.

"When I was in front, I tried to keep pushing, but I also was taking in the moment because this was my last cross country race in high school, and I had a lot of fun," said Overberg.

Liberty Bell's Leki Albright was the closest to Overberg in the race, crossing the line in second place, running 19:40.40. Northwest Christian's (Lacey) Madison Ingram was third overall in 19:50.10.

The Pope John Paul II girls repeated as state champions beating out Liberty Bell by a score of 46-59. Clare Kondrat was the Eagles' top runner placing fifth overall in a time of 20:01.30.

"The team was so much fun this year," said Kondrat. "This senior year was so meaningful, ending with state title instead of COVID. It's been a struggle getting back into it, but I think we had a group that bonded really well, and we came together in the end."

Also finishing in the top 10 alongside Kondrat were Catelin King (9th, 20:51.70) and Isabella Salvador (10th, 20:57.60). Between the Eagles' top five runners, they all placed individually in the top 20.

"This was an awesome group, and we're very happy to win the state championship again," said PJP2 head girls coach Larry Weber. "They ran well in the beginning and actually pushed it the last 1,000-meters like a couple of years ago, so they did well the entire race."

St. George's finished in third with 89 points, led by Josie McLaughlin's fourth-place run of 19:59.60. Garfield-Palouse got fourth, scoring 102 points.


For more results from the 2021 Girl's State Cross Country Championships, click here.

For more photos from the meet's action, click here.

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