Cross country: TJ girls, Federal Way boys qualify for state meet

The Thomas Jefferson Raiders girls cross country team is heading over the mountains once again. The Raiders finished in fourth place in the team standings Saturday at the Westside Classic 4A district meet at American Lake Veterans Golf Course to earn an automatic berth to the state championships, which will be held Saturday in the Tri-Cities.

It will be the Jefferson team’s ninth trip to the state meet in the past 10 years. The Raider girls’ streak of eight straight was cut short last year.

The 2010 edition of Jefferson was led by Leah Kiyohara. The junior finished 10th overall over the 5,000-meter course in Lakewood in a time of 19:11.9. Skyview’s Priscilla Timmons won the race in 18:24.5.

Kiyohara will also be joined at state by teammates Brianna Calveri (21st place), junior Amanda Ditzhazy (36th), Lindsey Jackson (38th) and Vanessa Church (50th).

But the highest district placer on the girls’ side Saturday was Federal Way High School’s Jasmine Johnson. The senior finished in fourth place overall in a time of 18:39.3, a week after winning the South Puget Sound League title.

Beamer junior Sara Mussa will also run at the Class 4A State Cross Country Meet after finishing 13th overall at districts in a time of 19:13.3. The top 40 individual finishers and the top eight teams automatically qualified for the state meet.

The Raider girls, however, won’t be the only district cross country team in the Tri-Cities. The Federal Way boys program, led by Meron Simon, snared the eighth and final team berth during Saturday’s Westside Classic.

Simon was the highest placer on the day over the 5,000-meter course. The senior, who finished second at the South Puget Sound League championship last week, ended up third Saturday. Auburn Riverside’s Korey Krotzer won the race in 15:27.8 after out-kicking Olympia’s Nate Brennand (15:28.4) at the finish line. Simon finished by himself in a time of 15:42.4.

Jefferson’s Chase Braxmeyer was right behind Simon in fourth place in a time of 15:51.3 and will run at the state meet for the second year in a row. Beamer’s Haftom Tafere will join the Eagle team and Braxmeyer in the Tri-Cities. The Titan freshman was 35th overall in 16:45.2. The rest of the Federal Way boys team to run at state will also include senior Brandon Thornton (46th place), senior Nathan Brewster (48th) and senior Patrick Crews (55th).