CHEHALIS - Ilwaco cross country boys broke a stretch of four consecutive first place finishes by coming in second at the Chehalis Bearcat Invitational meet Saturday. The girls team finished eighth among 22 schools in the 3.0 mile race.
John Hayes led the Fishermen, finishing 13th in a time of 16:36. Derek Duffy, possibly suffering from the lingering effects of illness and a twinge of nerves, placed 16th in 16:46.
"Derek was right where he wanted to be half through the race, but he tightened up," Joe Williams said of his talented senior runner. "Derek may have put too much pressure on himself, but I am confident he learned from this. He has a great deal of talent."
Jordan Williams claimed 20th among the 126 runners, finishing with a time of 16:54. Garret Binion (17:08) and Shaun Peterson (17:21) finished 28th and 33rd to round out Ilwaco's scoring.
"Considering the layoff we had, our runners ran a great overall race," Williams said.
Dylan Wirkkala came in 38th and Scott Fagerland was 39th with times of 17:33 and 17:34.
"Our boys were all within a minute of each other. We try to stress bunching and running as a team," Williams explained.
Mike Huitt raced to 10th place in the freshman-sophomore race out of 49 runners, and Luke Jensen claimed 33rd. Matt Kaino was fifth in the junior high race among 24 competitors, followed by Stephen Bergland in 12th, Robert Gibbons in 19th, and Ricky Alm in 24th.
Sunday the guys ran "between seven and eight miles" according to Williams, showing just how dedicated the group is. "At the level of competition we are at, the guys know what they need to do to succeed and they are doing it," Williams said matter of factly.
The Lady Fishermen were paced by Erin Knick's 27th place finish in a time of 21:36. Jillian Guelfi claimed 34th in 22:14, and Kari Knutzen was 41st in 22:36. Rounding out Ilwaco's team scoring was Meredith Jensen in 61st and Lindsey Burns in 70th. Elaina Erola came in 75th among 89 lady runners.
Felecia Faggard continued to shine, winning the 1.5 mile girl's junior high race in a time of 9:51 and remained undefeated for her career. Kathleen Oja was also outstanding, finishing third with a time of 10:07. Tabitha Kruse was 6th, Desmin Wirkkala 7th, Dawnielle Childers 8th, Victoria Stark 10th, Monica Milner 12th, and Ariel Weir 19th among 24 girls.
Ilwaco travels to Tenino for a hilly meet on Thursday and then has their next big test in Hoquiam on Saturday. Top ranked Chelan and South Whidbey will be there for a showdown of some of the best 2A cross country teams in Washington.
Boys Top Eight
1. Renton 101
2. ILWACO 103
3. Camas 122
4. O'Dea 123
5. Black Hills 146
6. W.F. West 195
7. Timberline 199
8. Rochester 214
Girls Top Eight
1. Camas 52
2. LaCenter 81
3. Bellevue Christian 99
4. Yelm 118
5. Centralia 134
6. Renton 141
7. W.F. West 161
8. ILWACO 188