Two runners qualify for state meet in Pasco
Jane Kennedy and Gonzalo Birrueta will represent Quincy at the Cross Country State Championship Meet n Nov. 3 at Pasco’s Sun Willows Golf Course.
Kennedy finished 11th out of more than 60 varsity female runners. Birrueta finished 16th among about 87 male runners. The top 21 runners in each race earned tickets to state.
Birrueta clocked in at 16:23 minutes. This year will be the senior’s first trip to state, and in his last race before the big dance, he set a new personal best.
Kennedy clocked in at 19:28 minutes. This year will be the sophomore’s second trip to state.
Kennedy could not stop smiling.
“I am really, really excited,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to make it, honestly. Just nervous, I guess.”
Kennedy showed up to Cowiche’s Apple Ridge course thinking it was a district race, so imagine her surprise when she saw runners from two districts gearing up for the race.
It did not help her nerves, but she “kept pushing it, keeping up with other people, not letting other people pass me,” she said.
Toward the end, “I was pretty dead,” Kennedy said. Familiarity with the course helped, though. The team competed in the Apple Ridge Run earlier in the year, and Kennedy ran it twice last year, as well.
Now, Pasco is next. This weekend, Kennedy will seek to finish in the top 30.
“Last year, I got in the top 40,” she said.
Birrueta said the goal at the beginning of the season was to qualify for state, a goal that has come painfully close to fruition in the past two years. This year, it finally happen for Birrueta.
“Having all my hard work and summer miles pay off was amazing,” he wrote in a text message.
To Birrueta, the biggest change from past seasons to this one was his mental toughness.
“Just recently, I have learned that the majority of the work is done mentally rather than physically,” he wrote. “It’s a constant battle between you and your mind that determines how you perform and I believe that’s where I excelled most at this season.”
Lastly, Birrueta thanked his coaches and friends and family for their support throughout his cross country career.
“It’s awesome that I get to close off my final season (by) running at the state championships!” he wrote.
At bi-districts, several other Quincy runners participated. Among girls, an ailing Bryn Heikes still showed enough toughness to finish the race, taking 46th place with a time of 23:20 minutes.
Among boys, Omar Ramos finished in 44th place with 17:21 minutes. Oswaldo Perez finished in 46th place with 17:24 minutes. Ecduy Gordillo finished 76th with 19:04 minutes, Tyler Wurl finished 79th with 19:26 minutes, Daniel Castillo finished 82nd with 19:56 minutes and Damian Casillas finished in 84th place with 20:17 minutes.
This weekend’s race in Pasco starts at 11 a.m. for the 2A girls and at 1:30 p.m. for the 2A boys.
By Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com