Langley, WA - Three finishers in the top four helped the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors place first as a team over WESCO foe, Arlington Eagles, at the District One 3A Boys Cross Country Championships this past Saturday, Oct. 27, at South Whidbey High School.
Senior Deyago Peraza won his first career cross country district title running 16 minutes, 7.9 seconds for the 5,000 meter course. Fellow teammates from Woodway, seniors Dylan Hartano (16:09.65) and Lucas Lacambra (16:22.70) were second and fourth.
The start of the race was a large group as no one wanted to take it out very hard before the first mile. The first runner had crossed mile one at five minutes and nine seconds.
Woodway's Peraza was tagging along with that large pack in the middle for that mile with the mindset of staying with the lead runners for the entire race, while also trying to push himself to be ahead of them by the end.
"Main goal was to stay out front this entire race," said Peraza. "Really push myself and try to exert myself and see how I end up at the end of the race."
As mile one had passed, Peraza decided to surge a little in front of the runners hoping to break away. It wasn't to long though before one Shorecrest, one Arlington runner and Peraza's teammates would be back up with him.
Knowing how strong the field was, this race wasn't just going to be given easily to any of the competitors running. This is why it was still tight going into the narrows trails for the three-quarter mile loop.
"We all started pushing each other more and more as the race went along," said Peraza explaining about the other runners in the top group.
"All of us wanted to see how strong we are and get up farther along the race to see where we would be when the race was all over."
Coming out of the backwoods entering mile two, Peraza was out in front still feeling like this was a relaxing pace for him going into the last mile, which was all down hill.
Making way to the final half mile of the race, Peraza maintained his lead in front of Shorecrest's Erik Luu as they have entered the high school campus.
"The Shorecrest runner started pushing me to go faster the last little bit. Usually in the past I would let him get away, but I decided to go with him and see where I would end up. I was in the lead on the track and finished it all the way. Truly feel blessed to have won this race."
The Warriors put together a great performance as a team scoring 38 points over Arlington's 44 points. This has been something they have been looking for all season long according to head coach Alan Bonney and they couldn't have picked a better time of the season.
"The boys ran very well and I don't think anyone ran out their head," Bonney said. "We felt all along we could win this district meet so this was great for them."
Bonney said the way Peraza fought to the end to win the district title was all pure toughness. For that reason, Bonney believes he is one of the most talented kids he has ever coached in his 50 years involved in cross country.
"He (Peraza) made up his mind at the end that he was going to win this race. I know this for sure, when you are as good as that, if you don't have the mental side, you don't have anything. He has that in him."
Woodway's chances of placing in the top four at state look really good and there is a potential for a second place finish according to the hypothetical meet on Athletic.net.
Other contributors heading to state for Woodway are Grant Christian (16:40.49), Jacob Wilcox (16:41.65), Josiah Ponton (17:10.78), and Kalevi Paavola (17:17.76).
Second place Arlington had four runners in the top 10. Placing fifth was Quincy Fankhauser (16:24.25), followed by Noah Loftis (16:27.29) in eighth, Blake Landry (16:35.13) in ninth, and Favian Villanueva (16:35.45) in 10th.
Snohomish advances to state too and they finished in third with 115 points. Nick McIver (16:25.88) placed sixth as the Panthers top runner.
Shorecrest's Luu (16:12.66) and Spencer Thurman (16:27.06) advance to state finishing third and seventh.
With three teams heading to state, 21 individuals are able to qualify for the state meet.
The 3A Boys State race is this Saturday in Pasco,Washington at Sun Willows Golf Course starting at 2:00 p.m.
Qualified Teams (including the runners):
Edmonds-Woodway - Deyago Peraza, Dylan Hartono, Lucas Lacambra, Grant Christian, Jacob Wilcox, Josiah Ponton, Kalevi Paavola
Arlington - Quincy Fankhauser, Noah Loftis, Blake Landry, Favian Villanueva, Vincent Loftis, Aiden Emerson, Chance Pearston
Snohomish - Nick McIver, Joel Lepse, Aiden Flynn, Nick Heike, Remy Vespaziani, Dylan Thede, Riley Hutchins
Lynnwood - Micah Murphy
Oak Harbor - Dallas Riddle-Stevens
Shorecrest - Erik Luu, Spencer Thurman
Shorewood - Lucas Kleyn, Ben Heagler, Stefan Mueller