Federal Way runners finish third in the nation


Sports editor

The Federal Way Track Club (FWTC) proved to be one of the better teams in the United States at the Junior Olympic Cross Country National Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. The 10th annual meet showcased the top 2,200 youth distance runners Dec. 13.

“It was really a pleasant surprise,” FWTC coach Darryl Genest. “We took a smaller group than usual and what we lacked in numbers we made up for in might.”

There were five age categories for boys and girls races from 9 to 18 years old. Each race averaged over 200 runners with the highest being 299, according to Genest.

“We had 16 of our 26 runners place in the top-100 in their races,” he said. “That is a really good showing.”

The FWTC 15 to 16-year-old boy’s team was the best finisher during the meet. The seven-member team finished third in the nation and individually Auburn High School’s Dominic Smargiassi was fourth overall to earn All-American honors. Kentridge’s Scott Sabo also was named an All-American after finishing 16th.

The FWTC 13 to 14-year-old girls team finished up in 11th place nationally.

The Federal Way Track Club includes athletes from 13 high schools around Western Washington. The highest placer from the Federal Way school district was Decatur High School’s Kim Barney, who finished 94th in the 15-16 age group. Barney’s teammate, Katrina Drennen from Orting High School finished eighth in the race to earn All-American honors.

The FWTC runners qualified for Junior Olympic Cross Country National Championships by finishing in the top-20 at last month’s regional meet at Woodland Park in Seattle.

A bulk of the expenses for the FWTC to make the trip to New Mexico came from the Weyerhaeuser Foundation. The foundation awards money for time volunteering in the community, Genest said.

“That made it possible for a lot of athletes that wouldn’t have been able to pay for the trip this time of the year to go,” he said.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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