Sports

Decatur boys, Raider girls qualify for state cross country meet

The Decatur boys and Thomas Jefferson girls cross country teams can officially pack their bags for a weekend trip to the Tri-Cities.

Both the Gators and Raiders qualified their teams for Saturday’s Class 4A State Cross Country Championships at the Sun Willows Golf Course by finishing in fourth place at last weekend’s West Central District Westside Classic at American Lake Golf Course in Lakewood.

Qualifying for the state meet is nothing new for the TJ girls. The Raiders have ran as a team every year since 2001 and finished second last season thanks to the individual state championship of graduated Kenna Patrick.

But the Decatur boys haven’t qualified as one of the top-16 teams in the state since 1993, when the Gators finished ninth.

Saturday at the Westside Classic meet, the Decatur threesome of Justin Englund, Josh Smith and Justin Helm were ultra-impressive over the 5-kilometer course at the American Lake Golf Course. Englund led the way for the Gators by finishing in seventh-place overall in a time of 16:02.5. Smith ended up in 10th place in 16:08.4 and Helm finished 15th in 16:17.2.

Decatur’s other three runners at the district meet were Brock Lintlemann (57th place), David Flores (59th place) and Brad Mason (99th).

Jefferson senior Jeff Baklund also will run at the state championships. Baklund finished 18th overall at the district meet in a time of 16:28.1.

Gig Harbor won the district meet, followed by Tahoma and North Kitsap.

On the girls’ side, the Raiders finished behind district champion Gig Harbor, Bellarmine Prep and North Kitsap. All seven of the Raider runners finished in the top-50 during the race and were led by junior Vanessa Bennum. Bennum ended up in 15th place overall in a time of 19:23.7. Bellarmine’s Kayla Evans won the race in 18:12.2.

Jefferson’s Camryn Patrick ended up 19th, sophomore Lacey Printz was 20th, Cassidy Robey finished 36th, Jody Baughman was 41st, Monica Jaenicke was 44th and Rosemary Angeles ended up in 50th place.

The TJ girls team will be joined by Federal Way High School freshman Jasmine Johnson at the state meet. Johnson finished 16th in a time of 19:24.2.

Volleyball

In their first postseason appearance since 1990, the Thomas Jefferson volleyball team earned the SPSL’s 10th seed into the West Central District Tournament after losing to Bethel Saturday at the SPSL Tournament, 31-29, 25-17, 20-25, 25-18. The Raiders entered the league tournament at Bethel High School as the fifth seed from the South, while Bethel was the fourth seed from the South.

Jefferson got 10 kills from Rachelle Eckert and Morgann Green, six kills from Katelyn Nugent and five kills each by Kendra Ansotigue and Nyssa Hovda.

The Raiders have a tough draw at the West Central District Tournament. Jefferson will take on the Narrows League champion Bellarmine Prep Lions at 1:30 p.m. to open the double-elimination tournament Friday afternoon.

Bellarmine brings a 12-5 record into the match and beat Olympia Saturday in the Narrows League championship match.

The winner of the Jefferson-Bellarmine match will play again at 5:15 p.m. and the loser will play at 3:30 p.m. The top-five finishers in the 16-team tournament advance to the Class 4A State Tournament.

Soccer

Tonight’s 2007 SPSL Tournament will have a big-time Federal Way feel. Beamer, Jefferson and Decatur will all play for seeding into the West Central District Tournament.

Beamer will take on the Kentwood Conquerors at 8 p.m. at Art Crate Stadium at Bethel High School with the SPSL championship on the line. The Titans finished a perfect 14-0-0 in the SPSL South, while Kentwood (10-1-3) snared the North title on the last day of the regular season.

Jefferson (8-1-5), the third-place team from the North, will play Puyallup (9-4-1) at 6 p.m. at Bethel with the fifth and sixth seeds to district on the line.

But the Decatur Gators (5-4-5) have the biggest match of the night. The Gators will play Graham-Kapowsin (8-3-3) in a loser-out game between the two fourth-place finishers in the SPSL. The game will be at 6 p.m. at French Field in Kent.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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