(GENO LUDWIG/Chewelah Independent)
Underclassmen shine for Cougar boys, Johnson powers through knee injury for gritty finish at state…
Zeke Crockett ran his career-best time and Cole Foster ran under 18 minutes for only the second time as a rookie freshman, to showcase a bright future for Cougar cross country at the State 2B Cross Country Championships in Pasco. Crockett ran the 5000-meter course at Sun Willows in 17 minutes, 42 seconds, placing 47th overall as a sophomore. Foster toured the course in 17 minutes, 59 seconds, finishing 64th among the 154 runners in the race. It was the first appearance at the state finale for both young Cougar runners.
“I thought they did as well as they could have,” Coach Ed Anegon said. “To have two run sub-18s as underclassmen is stellar at this point and bodes well for the future of the boys program.”
“Zeke PR’d on the Sun Willows course, a course that is a much tougher go than the course they saw at Chewelah last weekend. Cole came away a bit disappointed in his race as he didn’t look or feel all that good throughout much of it, but he pushed through and still managed to run just under the 18 minute mark, a remarkable performance for a freshman. He may be one of the best freshman Chewelah has seen in quite some time.”
Kiana Johnson put on a gutsy performance in the girls’ state race. After setting a career record the previous Saturday in the regional meet, the Chewelah junior finished the course 98th among the 112 girls running the fairways. She was visibly in pain with a knee issue at the regional meet, but also competed and ran through the pain down in Pasco.
All three of Chewelah’s state veterans will be back in uniform next fall.
“I think we are setting up well for next year,” Anegon said. “For the boys, we return 7 of 9 and all of our top 5 from regionals. For the girls, we return all who ran at regionals. And looking ahead, we look to be headed in a pretty stellar direction. With work put in this spring and summer, we could be looking at this year’s result at regionals and state as a turning point for the program It looks pretty bright.”
Eastside favorite Easton Pomrankey from Kettle Falls finished fifth just 17 seconds behind the winner with a time of 16:12, a career record. The Kettle Falls trio of Mya Edwards (19:53), Emily Montgomery (20:14.50), and Zarahemla Johnson (20:19) all finished in the top ten in the girls’ race. They finished fourth, seventh, and eighth, respectively.
Wellpinit’s William Dick IV was 77th with a time of 18:10 in the boys race, Springdale’s Tamieka Valentine was 57th in the girls race with a time of 22:28. Wellpinit’s Ashawna Anderson was 59th in the girls race with a time of 22:33.
In the 1A race, Alaina Stone won the State 1A Girls Championship, posting a time of 17:39 and defeating No. 2 runner King’s Naomi Smith who took first last year. Stone was just six seconds off her personal best and her win at the state race was her ninth first-place finish of the year.
The Deer Park girls won the team scoring with 98 points, while Lakeside was second with 107 points, once again showing that the NEA League is one of the best cross country leagues in the state.
On the boys 1A side, Lakeside’s Brayden Merrill finished fourth with a time of 16:07 and helped lead Lakeside to a team state title with 92 points.