Two runners qualify for state meet in Pasco
Freshman Jane Kennedy and sophomore Bryn Heikes will represent Quincy at the State Cross Country Championship Meet this weekend in Pasco.
The first-timer Kennedy and the state-returner Heikes earned tickets to the Tri-Cities with a top-20 finish at regionals last weekend in Cowiche. Heikes finished fourth with a personal-best time of 18 minutes, 51.8 seconds and Kennedy finished 14th with a personal-best time of 19 minutes, 31.7 seconds.
Seventy-three runners competed in the race. Heikes’ PR bested her previous mark by 33 seconds. Kennedy’s mark bested her previous mark at the Cowiche course by more than 50 seconds. That mark had been set less than 10 days ago.
“We had amazing races by Bryn and Jane,” coach Greg Martinez said. Ann Safe also had a season record in the race, with a time of 24 minutes 43.4 seconds, good enough for 56th place.
Among teams, the girls’ squad finished sixth out of 10 teams that placed, and fifth out of the CWAC teams competing, with 181 points.
“The girls as a team performed better than we anticipated,” Martinez said.
CWAC rival Selah finished first with 45 points.
The boys’ team had some good races, but nobody qualified for state. Gonzalo Birrueta was the top Jack male runner with a time of 17 minutes, 9.3 seconds, good enough for 37th place. Oswaldo Perez finished 42nd with a time of 17.23.9 minutes, a personal best.
“The boys’ races were extremely fast,” Martinez said. “The top seven runners were under 16 minutes.” A sub-16 mark in a three-mile course means runners were clocking in 5-plus minute marks per mile. Daniel Callahan of Selah finished in first place with 15 minutes and 30 seconds, which means he ran each mile at a pace of five minutes and 10 seconds, Martinez said.
Tyler Wurl finished 63 with a personal-best mark of 18:32.4 minutes. Nate Ramirez also PR’d with a time of 19:27.8 minutes. In the junior-varsity race, Taggart Hodges had a PR with a time of 20.17.3 minutes, good enough for 63rd place.
The marks by Kennedy and Heikes surprised Martinez.
“If you had told me Bryn was going to go 19 (minutes) 10 (seconds) I would have been ecstatic,” he said. “So for her to go sub-19 is huge.” The prediction for Kennedy was that she was “right on the bubble” to go to state, meaning odds were about 50-50 that she could make state.
Halfway through the race, Kennedy was 17th, so she gained three spots during the last half of the race, Martinez noted, while Heikes never dropped below fourth.
“They ran great and were able to maintain their pace,” Martinez said.
Now that the last, biggest race of the season is ahead, Martinez said that if Heikes can shave off about 15 to 20 seconds from her time at last year’s state meet, that would be a success. In 2016, Heikes clocked in at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco with a time of 20 minutes, 20 seconds.
“I think that if we can get into that 19-something range, that would be a huge race,” Martinez said. “If she can do it, great. If not, we are going to be proud of her for whatever she did.”
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org