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Raider girls run to third place at 4A state meet
By CASEY OLSON
Improvement is something that Jefferson head cross country coach Paul Ruston stresses to his runners.
The Raiders improvement continued Saturday at the Class 4A State Girls Cross Country Championships at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. Jefferson walked away with their second-straight podium finish with a third-place performance at state. Last year, the Raiders finished in fourth-place as a team.
In the past five seasons, Jefferson has gone from 14th to ninth to seventh to fourth to third this year.
Things are also looking pretty good for that improvement to continue next season. Ruston will return a bulk of his team, including four freshman who ran a bulk of the season on the varsity. The Raiders will also bring back No. 1 runner Kenna Patrick. The junior had her second top-10 individual finish at the state meet Saturday.
Patrick finished up in ninth place in a time of 18:56. Mount Spokanes Megan OReilly ran away with the Class 4A race in a time of 17:35 35 seconds in front of second place Jessica Pixler from Eastlake High School. Patrick ended up eighth at last years state championships.
Jefferson senior Hilorie Hildebrandt continued her strong postseason with a 19th-place finish on the 5-kilometer track on the deceptively-hilly Sun Willows Golf Course. The race included 150 runners.
The top-ranked Gig Harbor Tides walked away with the Class 4A championship Saturday. Gig Harbor tallied 73 points, compared to second-place Mount Spokanes 107 and TJs 113. The Tides had three runners finish in the top 12. The Raiders finished just 11 points back of Gig Harbor at last weeks West Central District Meet.
The Raiders also got a 29th place from freshman Vanessa Bennum (19:38), freshman Camryn Patrick was 59th (20:15), senior Meridith Dyer was 66th (20:19), Cassidy Robey was 72nd (20:25) and Natalie Jarvey was 104th (20:56).
Decatur senior Becky Williams had a strong run in her second state championships with a 33rd place finish in a time of 19:45. Beamer senior McKinley Williams ended up 47th in 19:58.
The top-20 individual finishes by Patrick and Hildebrandt at the state meet qualifies the TJ pair for next weeks 2004 Nike Border Clash in Beaverton, Ore. The invitation-only meet pits the top cross country runners from Washington against Oregons top runners in a dual-meet format. The Border Clash will be held at Nikes World Headquarters on Nov. 20.
This will be both runners second appearances at the Border Clash. Hildebrandt ran in the 2003 race and Patrick participated in last years festivities.
Class 4A boys meet
Jefferson senior Erik Church led a group of three Federal Way school district qualifiers at the Class 4A State Boys Championships Saturday in Pasco. Church finished up in 48th place in a time of 16:42.
Churchs teammate, TJ senior Serge Marchenko, ended up in 82nd place in 17:06 and Decatur sophomore Justin Englund was 89th in 17:11.
Jackson High Schools Jeff Helmer won the race in a time of 15:40, followed by Kentwoods Michael Chinchar (15:51). Chinchar runs during the summer track and field season with the Federal Way Track Club, which is coached by Darryl Genest.
Ferris High School of Spokane won the boys team title, followed by Mead and Tahoma.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com