Cheney’s cross country teams have demonstrated all season that, lacking a superstar runner, success can also be had through hard work and dogged perseverance. Those traits paid off two weeks ago in return 2A state appearances for both Blackhawks boys and girls teams, who finished their season with eighth and 14th place finishes respectively on the 5,000-meter course at Pasco’s Sun Willows Golf Course.
“Proud of the kids,” head coach Jay Martin said in an email. “They fought hard to get to state and then did the best they could. Most had PR times.”
Both Cheney squads had runners posting season best times at Pasco, four for the girls and three for the boys. Senior Kyle Lerch led the boys, placing 14th overall with a time of 16 minutes, 14.51 seconds and was followed by juniors Kameron Galm, 38th at 16:41.32 and Steaven Zachman, 43rd in 16:43.30.
Senior Nick Steele finished 54th with a time of 16:50.60 while sophomore Mason Van Stone posted a season best time of 18:01.58 to finish 121st, providing the boys varsity their final points. Senior Dallin Olson finished 129th in 18:19.95 while freshman Kaleb Lerch was 132nd in 18:35.43.
Lake Washington senior Devon Grove led the boys’ field of 145 with a state championship time of 15:29.72 while Sehome captured the overall team title with 102 points. Cheney scored 182 points, three back of Great Northern League rival and District 7 No. 1 seed East Valley.
“Boys team scoring (Cheney) placed four in the top 33,” Martin said. “Only one team placed better for the number 4 man and that was Sehome.”
Senior Mariah Brenton led the girls with a season-best of 20:39.56, finishing 69th in the field of 143 runners. Juniors Kelsey Schwendiman and Mattie McNair were 92nd and 93rd in season best times of 21:14.67 and 21:15.56, with senior Claire Lunde 105th in 21:30.39 and freshman Shannen Gladden 110th at 21:45.16.
Senior Johanna Sherman was 111th with a time of 21:45.23 while freshman Alexis Brooks turned in a season best mark of 22:22.94 to finish 124th. Burlington-Edison senior RaynJoy Norton finished in 17:58.16 to capture the girls’ title while Sehome once again took the team crown with 31 points, 57 ahead of second-place Bellingham.
Cheney’s girls finished with 331 points, 66 behind the GNL’s No. 1 seed Deer Park in 10th.
“Girls ran very well, had to scrape and claw just to get there, but ran with purpose at state as well,” Martin said.
Both Blackhawks teams had four runners named to Great Northern League All-League teams. Kyle Lerch and Galm were first team picks while Steele and Zachman received second team honors. Brenton was named to the girls’ first team, with Schwendiman a second team selection while Lunde and Sherman were honorable mentions.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.