CHEHALIS - Freshman Evan Hendrickson ran a personal record (PR) time of 19:47 in leading the Naselle Comets cross country team to tenth place in the District 4 1A/B cross country meet held on the Newaukum Golf Course in Chehalis Saturday. Hendrickson's time gave him 37th place overall with the top 20 runners qualifying to move on to the state meet.

Naselle coach Ryan Bjornsgard said, "Evan ran a great race - a PR for him. I told him that that was a preview of what he can do next year as he was the third fastest freshman to finish. We had several guys who were hurt, sick, or taking their SATs this week so we didn't do as well as we had hoped as a team. But of our top seven finishers, three of them were freshmen and three were sophomores so it looks good for next year. We hope to add a few more girls next year as well."

The other Comets, their places and times were: Zach Badger (56th, 20:51); Cory Teubner (58th, 21:04); Takumi Sato (61st, 22:25); Brian Beaulaurier (67th, 22:35); Ryan Nortrup (79th, 22:58); and Keegan MacGuire ((72nd, 23:13).

The top five runners score points for their team, with Naselle scoring 284 points for their tenth place finish. Northwest Christian was first with 46 points, and the first place runner, Seth Woods, completed the course in 17:20.

Bjornsgard explained, "Nate Moore wasn't able to run due to an injury, Takumi [Sato] got back spasms during the race and wasn't able to finish as well as he has been running, and Brandon [Wirkkala] was sick - so we were hurting for runners.

"I am encouraged and excited about the runners that we will have coming back next year. The seniors that we are losing have provided the inspiration and leadership for this group," Bjornsgard said.

"We will also have some junior high runners who are running very well. Erin Saari finished second in the girls junior high league meet last week. She is an eighth grader who only lost two races all year. Seventh grader Kyle Burkhalter finished fourth in the boys league meet last week so he will be another runner who will be coming right along," he concluded.

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