Redmond Senior Sarah Lord won Saturday’s 4A Kingco/Greater St. Helens Bi-District cross country meet in convincing fashion, navigating the hilly, wet 3.1-mile course at Seattle Lincoln Park in a season-best time of 18 minutes, 25 seconds.
She finished 14 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Anna Bailey of Garfield.
But here’s the scary part: she’s nowhere near her personal-best time, which was an incredible 18:07 at last year’s 4A Kingco Championships. She also ran an 18:08 as a sophomore at a league meet back in 2006.
“She really looked good again today,” Mustangs’ coach Denis Villeneuve said.
Lord said she had a similar game plan to the one she used to win last month’s 4A Kingco Championships: seperate from the back during the tough, uphill second mile.
“I wanted to do a fast first mile, around 5:40, and at the bottom of the hill, if there was anyone with me, to pass them and go up.”
Behind Lord, the Mustangs finished second with 93 points behind powerhouse Eastlake, which finished with 35 points.
Redmond senior Jillian Jaccard finished seventh in 19:09 and junior Hailey Jorgenson was 21st with 19:40.
The top four teams from the bi-district meet earned berths to this weekend’s Class 4A state meet at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, along with the top 20 individual finishers.
After two straight blowout victories, Lord’s focus turns to improving on last year’s fifth-place finish at state and make her final cross country race of her high school career a memorable one.
“I hope to run a good time, but more importantly, to have a good last state race,” said Lord, who has gotten offers to run in college but is still undecided. “It would be a good way to cap my high school career.”
In addition to state, runners also have another meet to look forward to – the Nike Borderclash – which Villeneuve described as “a marquee race between Oregon and Washington.”
Taking place on Nov. 22, the meet will feature the top 20 runners at the state meet, something that a number of Mustangs have the potential to achieve, including Lord, a three-time state participant, and Jaccard, who is having a breakout year.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the Nike Borderclash,” Lord said excitedly. “That’s one of my favorite races of the year.”
With several Mustang runners claiming hardware at the 4A Kingco and Bi-District level, Villeneuve likes his team’s chances to do well in Pasco but doesn’t want to put the proverbial cart before the horse.
“Aiden and Sarah, have top-10 goals, or top five, you never know at the state meet what’s going to happen,” said Villeneuve. “You just want to be up there and give yourself the chance.”
REDMOND GIRL FINISHERS
Sarah Lord: 1st place, 18:25
Jillian Jaccard: 7th, 19:09
Hailey Jorgenson: 21st, 19:40 Kelly Brown: 37th, 20:18
Melissa Villeneuve: 48th, 20:43
Charlotte Wangelin: 61st, 21:15
Jenna Sanders: 62nd, 21:18