The Cheney girls cross country team came up pretty big at Saturday’s Richland Invitational. The Blackhawks ran to a third-place finish in the 16-team field in three-mile Division 2 competition, a field mainly of 2A-1B schools but with a couple 3A and 4A teams as well.
Mariah Brenton paced the Blackhawks, finishing third in a time of 20 minutes, 11.19 seconds. She was followed by Johanna Sherman in ninth, Mattie McNair 18th, Claire Lunde 32nd and Karlie Eaker 61st, wrapping up with scoring with Shannen Gladden 85th and Linsay Sweitzer 86th.
Cheney scored 107 points, 16 behind second-place Pullman and 27 back of Moscow in first. Head coach Jay Martin was very happy with how the girls performed, turning in one of their tightest top-fiver runner gaps this season at just over two minutes.
“They really raced as a team,” Martin said. “They really, really raced well.”
Martin said the biggest improvement for the girls was they ran better through the middle portion of the race, putting them in better position near the end. It’s something they’ve struggled with this season.
The Blackhawks varsity boys finished 13th out of 26 teams in three-mile, Division 1 competition, a field composed mostly of top 3A and 4A programs. The difficulty of competition was something Martin said they wanted to face.
“We weren’t as concerned about placing as we were against running against big time competition,” he said. “Which we got.”
Kyle Lerch led the Cheney boys, finishing 30th with a time of 16:07.03, followed by Nick Steele in 61st, Steaven Zachman 75th, Kameron Galm 79th and Mason Van Stone 132nd wrapping up Cheney’s scoring, posting a 1-5 gap of 1:29. Carson Kerr finished 150th and Dallin Olson 157th in a field of 191.
Cheney finished with 337 points. Spokane 3A school North Central won the Division 1 competition with 69 points, followed by Seattle’s Nathan Hale in second with 96 and Mt. Spokane third at 150.
Cheney returns to Great Northern League action this week, traveling to Plantes Ferry State Park in Spokane Valley to face host West Valley along with Colville. The Blackhawks wrap up the league schedule Wednesday, Oct. 23, with their only home meet, facing Clarkston at Salnave Park.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.