Track club runners solid at nationals

Members of the Federal Way Track Club were all smiles as they returned from the Junior Olympic Cross Country Nationals last weekend in Lincoln, Neb.

“It was our best overall performance,” said coach Darryl Genest. “We had eight All-Americans this year, which equals our total of the past seven years all in one race. It was a sucessful trip with a lot of exciting moments and fun things. It was a good outing and we’re very proud of our kids.”

In the past seven years, the club had taken a total of 103 athletes to nationals. This year, the club sent 40.

As a team, the young women’s team took second in the nation and the young men’s team was fourth in the nation.

“It’s unbelievable how tough the competition was,” Genest said. “States have gone to putting all-star teams together tha draw from their entire state. That’s tough to compete against, with us drawing only from the South Sound region. As a coach, it makes me appreciate the effort from our athletes. They performed very well.”

Athletes who finish in the top 25 at nationals are awarded All-American honors. Individual All-Americans from the Federal Way Track Club include Tyler Campbell, who was fourth in the Young Men’s race, Matt Perez, who was 13th in the Young Men’s race, and Mike Ogwell at 18th in the Young Men’s race.

“For us, that’s the deepest young men’s team we’ve had,” Genest said. “A lot qualified and they performed well at nationals. It was a very competitive field.”

Campbell’s fourth-place finish was the best-ever performance at nationals by a Federal Way Track Club runner.

All-Americans from the Young Women’s team include Bobeya Krishnek at seventh, Kristen at tenth, Ellen Murray at 19th and Cassie Ranstrom at 20th.

Competing in her first year of cross country, Katrina Drennen was an All-American after finishing 12th in the 13- and 14-year-old Youth Girls race. Drennen was only 12-years-old at the time of the race, which means she’ll be able to compete in the division for another two years.

“It was a fun, good trip,” said Chris Williams, a Decatur student who finished 30th in the Intermediate Boys division. “There were a lot of good people there. It was cool being around the older guys.”

Williams said the team’s practices were more intense leading up to nationals.

“Training is part of the reason for the success,” Genest said. “They were ready and they were well prepared.”

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