When the name Sarah Lord is mentioned in cross country circles, a word that often comes to mind is “domination.”
The talented Redmond runner smoked the field and defended her 4A Kingco League title, finishing the 3.1-mile course at Seattle’s Lincoln Park in a blazing 18 minutes, 34 seconds.
Lord’s teammate, Jillian Jaccard, finished second in 18:56 as the Mustangs finished second with 82 points behind runaway winner Eastlake, which had 44 points.
The top 35 advance to the Kingco/Greater St. Helens Bi-District meet this Saturday, Nov. 1 at Lincoln Park.
The top four teams from the bi-district will go on to the state meet, located at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco on Nov. 8, and runners that place in the top 20 but don’t get a team invitation will get to participate as individuals.
Lord’s plan was to break away from the pack during the tough second mile.
“I was hoping to stay with the first pack of girls, and then at the very bottom of the park when we turn around the tree and surge up the hill, just take the lead from there,” Lord said.
She couldn’t have written the script any better, as she opened up an insurmountable lead going into the third mile and coasted to victory.
“She didn’t feel on top of her game today, but in the third mile she said she started feeling better,” Redmond coach Denis Villeneuve said. “She’s a three-time Kingco champion, so she doesn’t have to be at 100 percent … she was hoping to run a little faster today, but the first thing was to win the race.”
The 19th-year Mustang coach was also thrilled about the effort of Jaccard, who senior who finished 21st at a season-opening meet at Lincoln Park back in early September.
“Jillian’s very talented, and we just had to wait for her to have that breakthrough race, and that happened today,” Villeneuve said. “She’s been improving all (year) long.”
Jaccard, who missed last season with heart problems, said she believes that Redmond stands a great chance to do well in the postseason due to the number of runners on the squad that are still improving.
“We’ve been having our No. 3, 4 and 5 runners really step up and fill those gaps,” she said. “I feel like we’re on the upswing, while all the other teams are plateauing.”
Junior Hailey Jorgenson, who ran JV last season, placed 11th for the Mustangs in 19:24.
Lord added that the Mustangs have done well all season against rival Eastlake, and the team’s strong performance on Thursday will give them “a lot of confidence” going into Saturday’s meet.
If there’s one face that the whole cross country team misses seeing blazing her trail out on the course, it’s junior Devin McMahon, who was forced to sit out this season due to a non-life threatening heart condition.
McMahon, who finished fourth in the state last year as a sophomore, trained with Lord all of last year after they developed a close relationship as friends and teammates.
“It’s been tough, definitely,” said Lord of not having McMahon around to train with and push her during practices and meets. “But Jillian has really stepped up. I’ve been running workouts with her, so that’s been really nice.”
McMahon, who balances her cross-country obligations with a rigorous academic schedule filled with honors and Advanced Placement classes, still sees a doctor on a weekly basis.
Her coach noted that things are improving, and he is hopeful that she will be able to start walking in a couple weeks and that she will be well enough to start training over winter and run track in the spring.
“It was real hard… it kills her, because she’d like to run, and we’d like her to run, but she can’t,” Villeneuve said. “We’d rather she’s healthy and on our team, than on the team running and have something bad happen. We’re just trying to make the best out of the situation, and I think the girls adjusted as well as they could have.”
REDMOND GIRL FINISHERS
Sarah Lord: 1st place, 18:34
Jillian Jaccard: 2nd, 18:56
Hailey Jorgenson: 11th, 19:27
Kelly Brown: 32nd, 20:15
Melissa Villeneuve: 36th, 20:29
Charlotte Wangelin: 43rd, 20:47
Kelly Weiss, 58th, 21:25