PASCO — Daniel Quintana became Ilwaco’s first state champion in cross country in 27 years. The sophomore won by four seconds in the 1B/2B state championship at Sun Willows Golf Club in Pasco Saturday, Nov. 9. Estella Sheldon and Alex Carper led Ilwaco’s girls team to a sixth-place finish, while the boys, led by Quintana and Daniel Whiting, placed seventh.

The Sun Willows Golf Club course takes three loops around the fairways and fenced-off greens and ends with a curving, bumpy downhill stretch to the finish.

“I started pretty well, letting the others lead,” Quintana said.

At the first turn, he was in fourth or fifth in a pack of eight frontrunners. By the second turn, it seemed a three or four-man race with two runners slightly ahead of Quintana.

“In the third mile, I was feeling confident. I had a lot of energy,” Quintana said.

On the home stretch over the final hill, Quintana was in second.

“I had energy in me, I just kicked it…I started sprinting the last one or two hundred meters,” Quintana said. “I thought (second-place finisher Justin Peck) was right behind me, but it turned out I was four seconds ahead.”

Quintana, Ilwaco’s first champion since Ernie Ammons in 1992, finished in 15:55.8. Justin Peck of Trout Lake, whom Quintana credited with pushing him the whole way, had a personal-best 15:59.8 for second. Kobe Deutscher of Pope John Paul II was third at 16:05.8. Noah Phillips, whom Quintana edged at the finish line at Districts, took fourth at 16:10.7; he was one of three runners for team champ Northwest Christian to finish in the top nine.

Sheldon reached the podium, closing out her career with a 13th-place mark of 20:40.1. Life Christian sophomore Gabby Martin won the girls’ race by an enormous margin of 1:27, finishing in 17:57.5.

“It’s a difficult course, so I was pleased to be 13th because that’s seven places higher than I was ranked,” Sheldon said.

Whiting, another senior, reached the podium after just missing it the previous year. Whiting took 15th with a 16:51.3 run.

“Having three individuals on the podium was something we haven’t had happen in a while,” coach Sarah Taylor said.

Carper also finished her career in peak form. After taking 30th at Districts, she was 20th in the state Saturday with a season-best 21:01.9. Carper and Sheldon both had State finishes in the 30s and 40s the previous two years.

Emma Brundage placed 31st at 21:26.2, continuing her late-sophomore season surge. Tristan Trudell was 36th at 17:25.

Tazlina Thomas (22:38), Nisa Mendoza (23:32.2), Kaytlenn Whelden (23:50.5) and Daniela Mendez (25:28.5) contributed for the girls’ team. Colton McNabb (18:31.7), Logan Simonson (18:47.6), Brady Rasmussen (19:06.7) and Logan Roush (19:55.1) ran for the boys.

— Patrick Webb contributed to this story.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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