Runners from Redmond High, Overlake and Bear Creek were all over the Sun Willows Golf Course last Saturday.
Redmond High’s girls notched fourth and the Mustang boys took ninth at the 3A state cross country championships in Pasco.
On the 1A side, Bear Creek’s girls took eighth, led by Olivia Markezich, who grabbed sixth in 19:28.3.
Overlake’s boys took 12th, led by Spencer Arons, who took 19th in 17:00.08.
Tops for Redmond were Claire Engler, who finished 14th in 19:36.3, and George Cretu, who placed 24th in 16:31.7.
“It was really exciting to show how strong of a team we are now,” said Engler, a senior.
Engler PRd by two seconds, but said she wanted to run even faster and hit the low 19s during the 3.1-mile race.
“Going into state, I had the confidence that I deserved to be there. I love running,” she said.
The Mustang was mentally and physically prepared for each hill, each twist and turn and each opponent on the course. Engler said the event went by fast and felt she ran a smooth race.
Getting into running was the best decision she’s ever made and she’s learned life lessons the whole way.
“It makes me want to keep running. I know I can keep improving,” she said.
Cretu, a sophomore, said the race was stressful at the start, but he soon got into a good flow on the course.
The Mustang injured his right knee two and a half weeks ago in a non-running-related incident and got in about a full week of training before state.
Although he wanted to record a faster time, he felt that “running at state was a really big accomplishment for me.”
And like Engler, Cretu wants to become a stronger runner each time out on the course.
He’s learned there will be barriers — like injuries — to overcome and “you’ve gotta push through them and not let them slow you down.”
Bear Creek coach Carla Darr said the Grizzlies’ historically small cross country team depends on one another and is often challenged by injuries.
“The overwhelming desire to compete as a team at state fueled these girls to execute every workout throughout the season, many with cross-training programs,” she said. “They communicated nightly, holding one another accountable, finally competing together as a team in the final three postseason competitions.”