Raider girls defend league crown in dominating fashion


The Mirror

It was deja vu all over again for the Thomas Jefferson girls cross country team. For the second straight year, the Raiders put together a clean sweep at the South Puget Sound League sub-district championships. Jefferson defended its team title over the 3.1-mile course at Lake Spanaway Park Wednesday afternoon, as did junior Kenna Patrick in the individual race. And both accomplished the feat with relative ease.

The Raider girls, who won their fifth consecutive SPSL South title during the regular season, outdistanced North Division champ Tahoma Wednesday. Jefferson had four girls finish in the top eight and had all five scorers finish in the top 12 to down Tahoma, 31-91. The Bears had beaten the Raiders in a dual meet Sept. 14, 25-31.

“I did think that our girls would win, although Tahoma did beat us in our first meet,” Ruston said. “Our girls ran very fast times on our home course at (the Federal Way) All-City meet so I was not surprised about their performances. Several days before the league meet, I wrote down what places I thought the team could get and I came up with 32 points, but I really did not think we would score that low.”

Patrick shaved 20 seconds off her winning time from last year over the Lake Spanaway course. The junior, who finished eighth at the 2004 state championships, won Wednesday’s race in 18:53.58, 14 seconds in front of second-place Chelsie Jorgensen from Puyallup.

Patrick’s teammates weren’t too far behind. Senior Hilorie Hildebrandt followed in third place (19:09.29), freshmen Camryn Patrick (19:40.06) and Vanessa Bennum (19:44.92) were seventh and eighth, respectively, and senior Meridith Dyer finished in 12th place (20:03.66).

“All the girls are hopefully capable of running faster,” Ruston said. “Kenna and the rest of the girls have to face some of these same competitors for two more races, so there is a lot of work left to be done. Our team does work hard, but it’s more about training consistently over a long period of time that has enabled them to perform at the level they are at.”

The top-eight teams along with the top-40 individual finishers from the SPSL sub-district meet qualified for the huge West Central District Meet Oct. 29. Decatur ended up 12th, Beamer 13th and Federal Way was 19th overall.

But Decatur and Beamer will be represented at the district meet. Gator senior Becky Williams ran an impressive

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