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Posted on Nov 6, 2014

Elmore, Salgado reach state


Spencer Elmore and Victor Salgado are becoming old friends with Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

This coming weekend will be their third annual trip to the course, but they are not golfers.  The two First Team All-CWAC runners have been making the trip each year as state cross country participants.
Last Saturday the two seniors finished inside the top-15 at the 2A District 5/7 Cross Country Meet at the Apple Ridge Run cross country course in Cowiche.  It is a tight and challenging three-mile venue crisscrossing through a private orchard on the hillside.
Elmore placed seventh in a time of 16 minutes, seven seconds.  Salgado was 13th in a time of 16:24.  It was a season’s best for Elmore and a lifetime best for Salgado.
“It was a PR, “ said Salgado with a smile.  “By two seconds.”
Elmore entered the meet knowing if he ran his usual race he would easily earn a state berth, but that was not the same for Salgado.  If everyone ran their usual race he would be just outside the top-15 and miss his third shot at a state trip.
So he went into the race with a plan – stick with Elmore as long as he could.  They were side by side for just over a mile and half.  That was good enough to give Salgado his shot.
In a hypothetical meet Victor would not have been in the top-15,” said first-year coach Elijah Gregg.  “He stuck right in Spencer’s pocket as long as he could go.”
“I was hoping to stick with him the whole time,” Salgado said.
It was sound game plan, but the style of Elmore is not for everyone.  He heads out of the gate on a deliberate pace and lets the front runners have their lead.  This time the front runners were Scott Kopczynski and Chad Stevens of East Valley – Spokane.  They were light years ahead of the rest of the field.  Kopczynski finished in 14:58 and Stevens crossed in 15:04.  Their speed did not phase Elmore and Salgado, who used a long downhill halfway through the first lap to move from the mid-20s to eighth in the pack.
“I passed a lot of people,” he said.  “I had to, but it wasn’t like we were that far behind.”
Elmore ended up seventh and Victor was not far behind at 13th.  Teammate Jimmy Garcia was 34th in a time of 17:26, Gustavo Guzman was 42nd in 17:47, Jesus Guzman was 50th in 18:23, Dylan Baty was 63rd in 19:08 and Daniel Cruz was 69th in 19:55.
“Jimmy did really well,” said Gregg.  “I thought Gustavo did really good.  He kept up with Jimmy.
“I was proud of all of them.”

On to state
Both Elmore and Salgado have their goals for this Saturday, with Elmore eyeing a top-10 and Salgado seeking a top-25 finish.  They both have work to do as Elmore is ranked 29th and Salgado 50th.  But the times are not the issue, rather the number of good runners has increased.
“All the times are close,” said Elmore.  “The times will be about the same.  There are a lot more people who run those times.  It’s just that close.”
Another goal is to improve on their times.  This is their third and final try at Sun Willows.
“We want to beat our own records on the course,” said Elmore.
Last year Elmore placed 10th in a time of 16:36, while Salgado was 32nd in a time 17:07.
In 2012 Salgado was 18th, in a time of 16:43, while Elmore was 41st in a time of 17:22.
They run at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday with awards to follow.

The Ladies
Dezarae Westra also had a solid outing, with a personal best in a three-mile race and placing higher than expected.
Coach Greg Martinez said she entered the meet projected to finish in the 40s, but was 33rd overall in a time of 21:03.  Her previous best three-mile time was 21:55 last season.
“She did awesome,” he said.
The junior was 21st among CWAC runners and beat one of her rivals, Sophia Rabadan of Toppenish, by 52 seconds.
“She ran a hard race and ran a fast first mile,” said Martinez.
She was followed by teammates Hannah Soelter (53rd, 24:42), Kateri Rowell (54th, 24:52), Hannah Safe (65th, 27:25) and Jazmine Benitez (66th, 27:52).
“Our girls gained valuable experience on a tough course with tough competition,” Martinez said. “Hopefully it will lead to more summer running and an improved team next season.”