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STATE CROSS COUNTRY: TJ girls finish in ninth; Decatur's Zellerhoff ends up 12th
The 5-kilometer course over the hills at the Sun Willows Golf Course have become very familiar to the Thomas Jefferson High School girls cross country team over the years.
For the 10th time in the last 11 years, the Raider girls made the trek to the Tri-Cities to compete at the Class 4A State Cross Country Championships. Jefferson finished up in ninth-place overall in the team standings with 249 points. Tahoma, who the Raiders beat to win the South Puget Sound League North Division championship, won the Class 4A team title with 88 points.
Jefferson was led by the 22nd-place finish by senior Leah Kiyohara in 19:07.4. It was the second year in a row that Kiyohara has been the Raiders' leading finisher at the state meet. A season ago, she finished 24th overall as a junior.
Senior Amanda Ditzhazy ended up in 73rd place and senior Vanessa Church was 83rd to help the Raiders finish with 249 team points. Bellarmine Prep was second (99 points), Redmond was third (100) and Lewis and Clark finished fourth (140).
Despite the impressive team performance by Jefferson, it was Decatur's Tori Zellerhoff who had the best finish of any individual runner in the district. The senior ended up taking 12th-place overall in the Class 3A race Saturday at Sun Willows.
Zellerhoff finished the 5-kilometer race in 18:55.5. North Central's Katie Knight won the 3A race in 17:10.6.
On the boys' side, the Todd Beamer Titans finished up in 15th place in the team standings with 366 points. Gig Harbor won the Class 4A title with 55 points.
The Titans were led by the 58th-place performance of sophomore Haftom Tafere, who ran the 5-kilometer course in 16:25.3. Freshman Austin Jex was 97th (16:51.7) and sophomore Blake Hansen was 100th (16:56.3).
Yohan Gebrehiwet finished up in 63rd place as the lone runner from Thomas Jefferson in a time of 16:27.9.
On the girls’ side, Beamer freshman Paige Hallstrom finished 60th overall in a time of 19:41.5. Mount Rainier's Jordan McPhee won the 4A race in an impressive time of 17:24.7, well ahead of second-place Alexis Fuller (18:07.1).
Federal Way junior Khiana Duncan ended up 78th overall in a time of 19:59.5.