Redmond High’s stellar seven runners tackled the cross-country terrain at Willows Run Golf Course in Pasco and notched the 4A state team championship on Nov. 9.
The Mustangs finished atop the standings with 86 points, followed by Camas with 107 points, Tahoma with 113 points and Eastlake with 144 points to round out the top four.
It is Redmond’s first-ever girls state cross-country title.
“It was a true team effort, which is what the sport is all about — individual perseverance for the benefit of the whole group,” said head coach Pete Whitmore, adding that Redmond was in third or fourth place after two miles of the 3.1-mile race.
“Every girl ran like gangbusters in the final kilometer to pull out the team title,” Whitmore noted. “It was evident the whole team was working together throughout the race, and that was what made the state title possible. They did not quit.”
Redmond’s Lili Hargreaves took ninth (18:36.60), Chloe Connolly placed 10th (18:37.20), Sophia Dahl took 18th (18:50.00), Zephyr Tao took 21st (18:55.40), Anna Petrobokova took 69th (19:37.20), Lauren Lehr placed 81st (19:50.10) and Joanna Gormley took 148th (21:56.80).
Tao’s climb from 64th place after the first mile to close out the race in 21st, was “a remarkable example of running the Redmond way,” said Whitmore, who also praised Petrbokova for setting a personal record by nearly a minute.
During a Reporter interview last month, Lehr noted that the team wanted to place at state this year. Consider it done — and then some.
Co-head coach Carson Potter said that each day at practice this season they evaluated the girls’ present standing and the goals they wanted to achieve. Their mindset heading into state was that it was just another 5K on their docket and they needed to stay the course they were on all season.
“We wanted them to finish on empty and we told them we’d be proud of them no matter the result,” said Potter, noting that the girls were focused, determined, fun and supportive. “They made a commitment to each other in the summer and met up every day to run together.”
They stuck together then, and finally when the state trophy was within their grasp.
“It was a thrilling and exhilarating finish to the state meet and the season,” Whitmore said.
Cross-country season may be finished, but Redmond’s athletes and coaches will continue to keep running in the spotlight. They’ve got major momentum heading into track season in the spring and cross country again next fall.
“This year established that we have what it takes to compete at the highest level,” Potter said. “We want future athletes to come in to the program and believe that they can accomplish the same things.”
• Redmond’s alternates were Neha Ramanath and Lea Bodmer.