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Raiders look to lead all-city meet
By COLE COSGROVE
More than bragging rights are at stake in todays all-city cross country race. The Jefferson boys and girls teams are both trying for an undefeated season. The race will also be a factor in determining the South Puget Sound League champions.
The girls race starts at 4:30 p.m. and the boys run at 5 p.m. at the Federal Way National Little League Complex, Decaturs home course this season.
Top contenders in the boys race include Decaturs Shaun Helm, a junior, and Chris Williams, a senior who finished second last year.
Shaun is coming off being injured and sick, so were interested in seeing how hes going to do, Decatur coach Heather Kreier said. He may be really competitive with Chris. It may be exciting. Were looking for them to battle it out. Our top five guys are all doing phenomenal.
Federal Way senior Aaron Lee will attempt to defend his title after winning last years race. Jefferson junior Kyle Anderson should also finish near the front of the pack.
In the girls race, top runners include Jeffersons Tera Brockman, a junior, and Jessica Schroeder, a sophomore. Brockman and Schroeder finished second and third last season. Their teammates, Erin Schroeder and Allyson Hunt, should also finish toward the front of the pack.
Theyre running faster than last year, and that seems to make them a stronger team, Jefferson coach Paul Ruston said. They run more confidently.
Federal Way senior Jessica Hafen will be a contender after running strong this season. Ninth-grader Becky Williams is the top runner for the Decatur girls.competitive.
The Jefferson girls will likely win a second consecutive all-city championship.
The boys doing well has been helping us girls, Brockman said. It gives us confidence. Our whole team has been working together. We push each other to keep doing better. When were running, we know each others weaknesses and can help each other out.
The sub-district cross country race is next Wednesday, followed by the west Central District race on Oct. 30. The state cross country race is Nov. 9 in Pasco.
We want to make it to state again, Brockman said. And this year we want to make an impression.
Decaturs first-year cross country coach Heather Kreier decided to move Decaturs home course off campus to the Federal Way National Little League complex, near the Weyerhaueser King County Aquatic Center. The change was to help give runners more diverse environment to train.
I wanted to make it more like a cross country course, Kreier said. From the comments Ive been getting, from the Emerald Ridge and Curtis coaches, they like it.
Most cross country races, which are up to 3. 1 miles in length, are run on golf courses to accommodate the amount of space needed. The downside is golf courses tend to be flat, which doesnt allow runners to get practice on hills. That can negatively impact them when it comes to the state meet.
Its not always consistent, Kreier said. We as a league could do a better job with that, and it will benefit the runners.
The Jefferson boys and girls cross country teams each won titles at the Fort Worden Invitational last weekend.
The boys finished with 35 points, led by Kyle Andersons third-place finish. Jeffersons Sam Wambugu finished in fourth place and Bryce Gravel took seventh.
The girls team won with 36 points, beating traditionally strong teams Port Angeles and Stadium. Jefferson won despite not using its top three runners, Tera Brockman, Jessica Schroeder and Erin Schroeder who sat out for the race.
We held out our top three and the other three girls said, Ok, now its my chance to shine, Ruston said. They didnt feel nervous. They took responsibility.
Jeffersons Alysson Hunt finished third overall and Amy Miller took sixth place. Laila Staerk was seventh.