The Cheney boys captured first place and the girls third in the 2A/1A classification cross country races at Saturday’s Runner’s Soul Erik Anderson Invitational at Plantes Ferry State Park in Spokane Valley. The Blackhawks boys topped an all-Great Northern League top three, scoring 76 points to West Valley’s 86 and East Valley’s 97, while the girls finished with 84 points to place behind Northeast 1A’s Riverside’s 39 and meet champion Lakeside’s 28.
Steaven Zachman led the Cheney boys, finishing sixth among 2A/1A runners overall with a time of 17 minutes, 22.77 seconds, followed by Kameron Galm in seventh at 17:30.33, Nick Steele 13th in 18:02.66 and Mason Van Stone 19th in 18:23.30. Carson Kerr capped the scoring, finishing 31st in 19:01.48, with Dallin Olson 34th in 19:04.55 and JT Gould 45th in 19:55.34.
The boys’ varsity was without the services of senior and typically top-finisher Kyle Lerch, who head coach Jay Martin said was sidelined with illness.
“Those guys really raced well,” Martin said.
Mariah Brenton was the girls’ highest finisher, placing sixth with a time of 20:55.66. Johanna Sherman was 14th in 21:45.10, Mattie McNair 22nd at 23:08.34, junior Lindsay Sweitzer 32nd in 23:58.13, Karli Eaker 33rd in 23:58.76 and senior Claire Lunde 35th in 24:08.60 to round out the varsity results.
Both boys and girls races contained runners from 4A, 3A as well as 1B and 2B schools, with 84 boys competing at the 2A/1A level and 54 for the girls. In other Cheney results, Matt Christianson finished sixth overall at 19:14.88 in the freshman race while Shannon Gladden finished 10th for the girls at 25:03.65.
At 3.2 miles, Martin said the course was one-tenth of a mile longer than a high school course, set up that way because of the collegiate competition that also took place Saturday. While there is a formula to convert, Martin said it was still difficult to gauge how the times compared to a normal high school course, taking into account the different types of courses and pacing of the runners.
The Blackhawks will get a chance to gauge that this week, opening GNL competition Wednesday at East Valley in double-dual competition with the host Knights and Deer Park. It will be Cheney’s first look at the Stags, two-time defending league champion for the boys and defending champs for the girls, in competition that might carry more weight than previous years because of a lack of a regional meet.
“The top two go to state out of districts,” Martin said. “(Dual) meets will carry a little more importance.”
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.