Harriers join state’s elite

Rachel Belt, shown here at Battle Point Park, took fifth at the league meet. - RYAN SCHIERLING/File Photo
Rachel Belt, shown here at Battle Point Park, took fifth at the league meet.
— image credit: RYAN SCHIERLING/File Photo

The Spartan girls’ cross country team hit No. 5 in the state coaches’ poll this week, believed to be the highest ranking a Bainbridge squad has ever achieved.

While conceding his own excitement, coach Richard Christopher cautioned the team against excessive exuberance.

“You still have to go out and run,” Christopher told them. “You have to do the best you can every time, and the other stuff will take place.”

Taking his words to heart, the team won its fourth meet of the season Thursday, defeating Lakeside and Seattle Prep on Battle Point Park’s three-mile course to remain unbeaten on the season.

The girls finished 2-3-4-5-6 to score 20 points to far outdistance Lakeside (52) and Seattle Prep (65).

Despite taking several wrong turns, Prep’s Ray Rogers – last spring’s state 3200 meter champion – easily won the race in 19:26. Bainbridge’s Sarah Grue edged teammate Rachel Belt for second, 19:36 to 19:37.

Other Spartans were Becca Ivey (fourth, 19:55), Colleen Burke (fifth, 20:06), Christy Lubovich (sixth, 20:08), Audrey Bennett (ninth, 20:48) and Lizzie Corvin (18th, 21:57).

Grue cited several factors for the team’s success.

“With so many seniors, we have a lot of confidence,” she said. “We all know each other pretty well, so we have a lot of team spirit.”

Fellow senior Ivey, the school record holder in the 800 who is running cross country for the first time, said, “I’m having so much fun, I should have done this long ago. We have such great camaraderie, that it’s fun to come to practice.”

Grue identified a third factor.

“We’re hard workers. We push each other in practice.”

Echoing the practice theme, Christopher emphasized that the boys, though unranked, share credit for the girls’ high showing because “everyone trains together and helps to push each other.”

Silver for boys

The Spartan boys took second to highly ranked Prep in a four-way race on the same course Thursday, despite missing two top runners.

With Joey Tarbill and newly eligible Jordan Droppert missing this meet due to minor injuries, Christopher said other runners stepped up.

He cited the runs of Nolan Amey and Jason Rowley. Amey led the Spartans with a seventh place 16:22, more than a 20-second improvement over his time two weeks ago on the same course. Rowley, the second Spartan to finish, was 10th, his 16:49 representing a 17-second improvement.

Other finishers were Tim Freeman (11th, 16:55), Christian Lucier (14th, 17:07), Alex Hoelting (17th, 17:29), Ed Morales (18th, 17:32) and Jack Replinger (19th, 18:05).

Prep had 25 points, while Lakeside – which had the second and third finishers – and the Spartans each had 58. Because Morales finished well ahead of his Lakeside sixth place counterpart, the Spartans were awarded second place. Cleveland trailed with 104 points.

The team competes in the Hoquiam Invitational today.

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