WESTPORT - Erin Saari, a freshman and the top runner on the Naselle High School girls cross country team, again led the Comette girls in the nine team Class A/B Cross Country league meet held at Westport, Wash., Thursday, Oct. 23.
Saari ran the course in 22:14 for a 10th-place finish. Teammate Kristiina Chism finished 22nd in 24:50.
Unfortunately for the Naselle girls, most of the rest of their teammates were in Lacey the same day for a league volleyball match against Northwest Christian. That activity prevented the girls' cross country team from running as a complete team.
The Naselle boys team finished fifth in their portion of the race. Evan Hendrickson led the Comet boy runners with a 21st-place finish in 18:45. Other Naselle point winners included: Cory Teubner (24th, 18:51 PR), Keegan McGuire (27th,19:17 PR), Ryan Nortrup (37th, 20:25 PR) and Eli Williams (41st, 21:01 PR). Also running were Garrick Bennett (43rd, 21:25 PR) and Spencer Griss (52nd, 24:28).
"Nine of our 11 male runners ran PRs (Personal Records). Everyone improved their times from 20 seconds to 2 minutes and 30 seconds from the times they ran on the Ocosta course early in the year," said Naselle coach Ryan Bjornsgard.
Naselle junior high runners placing in their last meet of the year were Conor Smith (5th, 11:19 PR) and Forrest Emo (11th, 11:50 PR)
The Comets boys scored 149 points for their fifth-place finish. Northwest Christian repeated as the boys champion with 33 points (15 points is the best team score possible). Rainier won the girls team title with 42 points.
The Comets next race is at Chehalis this Saturday, Nov. 1, on the Newaukum Valley Golf Course. The girls will run at 10:30 a.m. and the boys at 11 a.m. That race will be the Class A/B District Championship where teams and individuals hope to qualify for the state Cross Country Meet in Pasco.
"The district will be very tough with 16 teams competing for very few state spots. Only the top four boys teams and the top 20 individual boys and the top girls team and the top five individual girls will qualify for state," Bjornsgard said.