In a showcase of some of the best high school cross country teams in the state, it was the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors and the Glacier Peak Grizzlies that shined the brightest Thursday at Ballinger Park in Mountlake Terrace.
The Warriors took four of the top five individual spots in the girls race and outscored the Grizzlies by 18 points to take first place in the girls team competition. Glacier Peak captured first in the boys team competition over the second place E-W squad.
The Mountlake Terrace Hawks couldn’t keep up with the stellar runs of the Grizzlies and the Warriors, finishing fourth in the boys competition, third in the girls team standings.
The Arlington Eagles placed third in the boys and fourth in the girls team scoring.
E-W’s Matthew Park place first overall in the boys race with a scorching time of 16:07 over the revamped 5,000-meter course at Ballinger Park. Park’s run was almost a minute quicker than the previous fastest mark at Ballinger set the week before by Meadowdale’s Cameron Sanders.
Warrior Coach Al Bonney praised his squad’s top runner after the victory. “Matt has high expectations for himself and I have high expectations for him,” Bonney said. “I think that he’s a phenomenal athlete and frankly he’s one of the best physically that I have ever seen. I’ve coach sub-four minute milers and Matthew; he’s right up there with those guys.”
Glacier Peak’s Riley McDowell, son of former University of Washington cross country standout Bruce McDowell, finished second in the boys race on Thursday; the Warrior’s Sam McCloughan place fourth.
On the girls side, E-W’s Yukino Parle edged out teammate Stephanie Wroblewski at the finish line to capture the top individual spot. Glacier Peak’s Heidi Smith grabbed third place while Sydney Boland and Olivia Meader-Yetter finished fourth and fifth respectively for the Warriors.
“I think we had a good day,” Bonney said after the meet.
Despite the lower team outcomes for the Terrace boys and girls teams, Coach Todd Weber was still feeling good about his squad’s efforts on Thursday. “Given the competition and given the circumstances, I was very pleased, very pleased with both boys and girls,” he said.
Weber hopes the experience of racing with top teams like E-W and Glacier Peak will help his boys’ team going forward.
“It’s a relatively new team from the standpoint of varsity experience, so they’re all kind of going through the ‘oh my gosh, look around, wow, we’re running with the big dogs today,’” Weber explained. “So I thought they got a little bit intimidated; I thought they held their own alright, but it’s definitely a race that they’re going to take with them and it’s going to benefit them in the future.”
Braeden Sims was the top finisher for the Hawks, placing tenth in a time of 16.57. On the girls’ side, Katherine Gustafson led Terrace with an 11th place finish.
The Hawk girls, who have had success over the past few seasons in big meets, were somewhat disappointed with their fourth-place finish on Thursday. But Weber didn’t show any concern.
“All those girls are kind of not at where they’re going to be at the end (of the season),” Weber said. “I think there’s going to be a significant jump, which is what our program has kind of been doing every year. That these girls are working hard and not necessarily seeing all the results right now but when it’s time to get really cranking – just like the last three years – all of a sudden they’re going to drop. Their times are going to pop big time.”
To view all the results from the four-team meet at Ballinger Park on Thursday, click http://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/Results/Meet.aspx?Meet=118701#/483.
Both E-W and Mountlake Terrace have a few days off before they get back into Wesco League competition on Sept. 29.
In other MTHS sports results on Thursday, the Hawk boys tennis team easily defeated Meadowdale 6-1; the volleyball team stayed close to Arlington early but faded late, losing 3-1 (25-19, 20-25, 25-15, 25-15).
Prep Cross Country: Mountlake Terrace, Glacier Peak, Arlington at Edmonds-Woodway, Sept. 22 (5,000 meters at Ballinger Park)
Boys team scores
Glacier Peak 26
Mountlake Terrace 94
Girls team scores
Glacier Peak 38
Mountlake Terrace 83
Edmonds-Woodway next meet: versus Everett, Kamiak, Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Thursday, Sept. 28, 3:45 p.m. at Carleton Farm in Lake Stevens
Mountlake Terrace next meet: versus Jackson, Monroe, Marysville-Pilchuck, Oak Harbor, Thursday, Sept. 29, 3:45 p.m. at Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor
Prep Boys Tennis: Mountlake Terrace at Meadowdale, Sept. 22
Mountlake Terrace 6 – Meadowdale 1
Records: Mountlake Terrace 3-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League South Conference, 6-1 overall; Meadowdale 1-3 in 2A/3A Wesco League South Conference, 3-5 overall
Mountlake Terrace next match: versus Shorecrest, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 3:30 p.m. at Kellogg Middle School
Meadowdale next match: versus Snohomish, Friday, Sept. 23, 3:30 p.m. at Snohomish High School
Prep Volleyball: Arlington at Mountlake Terrace, Sept. 22
Arlington 3 – Mountlake Terrace 1 (25-19, 20-25, 25-15, 25-15)
Records: Mountlake Terrace 1-2 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 2-3 overall; Arlington 3-0 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 4-1 overall
Mountlake Terrace next match: versus Edmonds-Woodway, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 7:00 p.m. at Edmonds-Woodway High School
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski