Pasco, WA - For the first time since 1986, the West Valley girls cross country team are taking home the 2018 2A State team title after having finished tied for first with the Bellingham Red Raiders at the Sun Willows Golf Course on November 3.
After scoring both teams top five runners, Bellingham and West Valley ended up with 118 points apiece. To break the tie breaker, the officials would have to score the sixth runner from each team.
West Valley's sixth runner, Emma Garza (21:25.6), would end up placing better then Bellingham's sixth runner, Skye Saling (22:02), therefore the tie goes to West Valley.
Juniors Annika Esvelt (20:08.5) and Sadie Langford (20:16.5) led the Eagles with podium finishes as they placed 15th and 16th.
Also for West Valley placing 23rd and 27th was junior Jenna Engeland (20:39.7) and Allie Andres (20:43.4)
For all the excitement and joy flying through every single individual on the team, it hadn't hit anybody harder than coach John Moir.
Moir felt he was living a dream in reality after knowing his team had won the programs third state title in school history.
"I am still in a little disbelief and it hasn't quite soaked in yet," said Moir. "I haven't started crying yet, but I am going to when we get on the podium."
A quote that was heard by every single runner on the team and began a contagious laugh all around.
Two girls who have helped build this program back up to winning ways are seniors Sydney Stone (21:17.6) and Sarah Adamson (22:21.5).
When Stone was a freshman, she was on a West Valley team which made it to state and thought it was the coolest experience ever.
"To come back four years later with an entire team and win the whole thing, it is unbelievable," Stone said.
Adamson didn't turn out for cross country her freshman year so she didn't get the same experience her teammate got. She in fact played soccer and the following year would turn out for cross country.
"Leaving soccer and coming to cross country, I was kind of scared," Adamson said. "I didn't know if I would be good at it. Making it to state my first year was amazing. Now that we have won, I have no words to describe it."
The 1986 West Valley girls cross country team scored the lowest amount of points ever, at the time, in a state championship meet with 45 points. Amy Duryee and Tonian Kasparian, who happens to be my mom, were the Eagles top finishers for that team placing first and third for the 3 mile course at Fort Worden in Port Townsend.
It has been quite the journey for West Valley dating back to three years ago when the team snuck in unexpectedly to the state meet, and Moir said on a bus ride home to Spokane back in 2015 the following season they would be able to trophy. And they did.
"This has been some long range planning. "It has been consistent work by these girls and they are committed to keep the tradition going. Couple of these girls have parents that ran for Otis back in the eighties the last time the girls won."
Otis, also known as Jim McLachlan, is a hall of fame cross country coach who led the West Valley girls to the schools first-two state cross country titles during his tenure back in the seventies and eighties.
Moir would also add on that bus ride home telling the girls they would win a state title a year or two later. And they did.
Washougal's Pullen Unstoppable from Start
Amelia Pullen from Washougal capped off her high school career with an incredible state championship win in the 2A girls race over the number one ranked runner in the state at the 2A level, Bellingham's Annika Reiss, running a time of 18:04.5.
Pullen and Reiss ran the first mile neck and neck as they both came through at 5:41.5, creating a distance of 8 seconds in front of third place runner.
Past a mile and a half, Pullen said she felt really good for the first half of the race but would later feel the pain the second half making one last climb up hill to the finish.
"I pushed through because it was my last race of high school cross country," Pullen said. "To win was exciting, but sad at the same time too."
Reiss fell off from Pullen at mile two as the Washougal runner increase her lead to six-seconds coming through at 11:31.6.
By the time the race was all over, Pullen won by 25 seconds.
Bellingham's Reiss went on to place second running 18:29.4 to lead the Red Raiders to the schools fourth second place finish in the past 18 years.
Pullman and Cedarcrest were the third and fourth place teams behind West Valley and Bellingham. The Greyhounds scored 123 points and the Red Wolves scored 138 points.
Pullman's only finisher in the top 16 was Kylie Franklin (19:19.4) placing seventh.
Leah Holmgren from Ellensburg was third for Bulldogs running 18:54.5.
Port Angeles and Selah were the only schools with multiple runners in the top 16.
The Roughriders got fourth and 10th place finishes from Lauren Larson (19:04.2) and Kynzie Deleon (19:26.4), and the Vikings got 12th and 15th place finishes from Kaylea Hartman (19:28.5) and Nicole Deherrera (19:47.1)
For more results from the 2A girls state meet, visit: https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/147102/results/614811