IHS X/C boys win district title led by Nate Appel in 1st

Nate Appel

CHEHALIS - The Ilwaco boys cross country team ran away with the District IV championship at the Newaukum Golf Course in Chehalis Saturday and Nate Appel added the individual championship to his ever-expanding resume.

The Fishermen placed four distance runners in the top 10 at district and only Forks High School had as many as two in that lofty company. The boys matched the Ilwaco girls' 1999 district and league championships at the 2A level in cross country.

Appel led the pack with a 16:21 time. "Nate not only leads our team at the races, but he is a leader by example in his work ethic and attitude," a beaming Coach Joe Williams said. "He [Appel] finished ninth at state last year and has come through all season for us."

Ed Guelfi finished seventh at District with a time of 17:08 and Derek Duffy was a second behind him in eighth place. "Derek has grown a lot this year as a runner and especially as a person," Williams said of the junior.

Jordan Williams finished tenth in the big race with a time of 17:14. His time was better than any other freshman at district by over a minute. Jon Fagerland was the fifth Fishermen eclipsing the 18-minute mark and his 24th place finish clinched the district title for Ilwaco. "Jon is a strong runner and has come through for us all year," Williams said.

No other team had more than three runners under the six-minute-per-mile mark. Freshmen Shaun Peterson and John Hayes completed the Ilwaco effort in 31st and 52nd place of 74 varsity runners.

The Lady Fishermen finished fourth at district and were led by Karla Parson's time of 21:55 and Kari Knutzen's 22:09. Senior Parsons finished seventh, two places away from an individual invitation to the state meet. Knutzen was tenth, followed by Erin Knick in 14th place in a time of 22:52, third best of all the sophomores at district.

Amber Hall in 20th, Elaina Erola 25th, and Meredith Jensen in 28th completed the scoring for the Lady Fishermen. Hall's time was 24:28, Erola's 25:39, and Jensen finished in 26:54.

The Ilwaco boy's junior varsity featured the running Bryce Jaquith (50th) and of freshmen Dylan Wirkkala (13th), Scott Fagerland (15th), and Mike Huitt (68th) among the 141 JV runners.

To say the Ilwaco cross country teams eat, drink, and sleep the event is more than just a cliche. Halloween candy and soda pop are out - it's pasta and salad, juice and water, and plenty of sleep then even more hard work for one more week as they prepare for the state meet in Pasco next Saturday.

"How well we travel and take care of ourselves the remainder of the week will determine how well we do," Williams says. "Naches, Chelan, and South Whidbey all are very close to accomplishing what we have in their districts and we're rated fifth in the polls so it should be a great race."

Williams goes on to say, "I like our chances because I know what these young people have put into their performances during the summer and the season." No matter what the number will be on the trophy Ilwaco brings home next weekend, the kind of effort their coach is talking about has already made them winners.

Southwest Washington district standings:

Boys

1. Ilwaco 50

2. LaCenter 83

3. Forks 112

4. Ridgefield 116

5. Rochester 125

Girls

1. LaCenter 50

2. Forks 54

3. Ridgefield 68

4. Ilwaco 76

5. Elma 87

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