Harriers advance to District

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 girls cross country team finished third in their first-ever Metro League Cross Country Championships on Thursday at Seattle’s Lower Woodland Park course, while the boys placed sixth.

The Spartan girls scored 67 points, with Blanchet edging Holy Names 49-51 to take the title. Blanchet swept the team titles by placing all seven runners in the top 16 to easily win the boys’ competition with 30 points.

Seattle Prep was second with 65, Lakeside was third with 86, then Nathan Hale (123), Ballard (128) and Bainbridge (140).

Both Spartan teams qualified for Thursday’s district championships at Lake Sammamish State Park.

“It would have been nice to win,” said coach Richard Christopher, “but our goal was to make district. And we met our goal.”

Blanchet won the girls’ race by packing their second through fifth runners within 25 seconds of each other, while Holy Names parlayed a 2-4 finish into second.

Rachel Belt was the top Spartan with her fifth place finish, clocking 20 minutes and 25 seconds for the hilly 3.1-mile course. Sarah Grue was seventh in 20:52, Colleen Burke 16th in 21:30, Christy Lubovich 17th in 21:31, with Becca Ivey the final scorer in 22nd in 21:37. Audrey Bennett was 30th in 22:16 while Lizzie Corbin was 51st in 24:38.

Noting the one minute and 14 second time difference between the top five Spartans, Christopher said he hoped to reduce the margin to 45 seconds at the district meet. Seven of the top twelve teams in the statewide coaches poll will contend for just four team allotments to the state meet.

Freshman Jordan Droppert led the boys, finishing 11th in 17:08, despite admitting to being nervous before the biggest race in his running career. But he ran a consistent race, notching a 16-second improvement over his previous best time on the course.

Making his high finish even more remarkable is that he also plays select soccer while training for cross country, taking the ferry across to Seattle twice a week for workouts with his Emerald City U-15 team.

Other Spartans were Nolan Amy (24th, 17:40), Joey Tarbill (31st, 18:01), Christian Lucier (18:10), Jason Rowley (38th, 18:16), Tim Freeman (39th, 18:21) and Ed Morales (45th, 18:42).

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