Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake charts course for state cross country

All teams will be chasing Lakeside for berths at Pasco

 

October 25, 2018

Medical Lake Athletics

Medical Lake's Mayah Eberhardt runs through the Newport Cemetery during the final Northeast A League cross country dual meet featuring Newport, Colville and the Cardinals.

Among the many roads and pathways Medical Lake has taken on the way to winning multiple 1A boys state cross country championships, perhaps last week's was one of the more unique.

"The course, first of all, runs through a cemetery," head coach Gene Blankenship said. "It does a two-loop thing. And signage along the way warns of both flower removal and closing times at dusk, which all the teams managed to beat."

That's where the Cardinals wrapped up Northeast A League dual-meet competition where the boys won handily 15-58 over the host Grizzlies and 15-68 against Colville. The ML girls lost a 22-33 decision to the defending 1A girls state champions from Colville. Newport did not field enough athletes to score.

Next up is today's (Oct. 25) District 7 championships at the Chewelah Golf Club where everyone will be likely chasing the Lakeside boys and girls for the NEA's second team berth at state Nov. 3 in Pasco.

Zach Lewis paced a one through six finish by Medical Lake with a time of 18 minutes, 7 seconds on the 5,000-meter course that made a pair of trips through the town's cemetery. Victor Long was a few ticks behind at 18:15 while Angel Mendez clocked an 18:21, Nicholas Henry, 18:35, Aiden Carl 18:37 and Jeremiah Windle, 18:53.

The Cardinals usual No. 1 runner, Quintin Collins was 11th at 20:20, but that was by design, Blankenship said.

"We ran Quintin easy because he's coming off injury," Blankenship said. "That's good for Zach because we really need him to perform well."

Blankenship said he was pleased with all performances, just disappointed that the girls did not fare better against Colville, who was led by Alania Stone's 19:05 time. Allison Payne was, as usual, Medical Lake's top finisher in fourth in 21:50.

The Colville coach approached Blankenship to ask where they got "that girl," Payne, who turned out for cross country this year after concentrating on gymnastics, Blankenship said.

While the meet resulted in a loss on paper, it gave Blankenship a road map for the districts.

"We put five girls in front of their fifth (place runner) and actually almost put six," Blankenship said. Riley Olmstead clocked a 22:37 and finished seventh with Maris Tuck right behind at 22:39. Jenavieve Cogswell (9/23:08) and Paige Headrick (10/23:19) were those other finishers.

Medical Lake has run on different and unfamiliar courses the past two weeks but will find none of that uncertainty in Chewelah, which as hosted the district championships for several years and was laid out by Blankenship.

"I'm a little nervous for next week to be honest with you," he said. Aside from the two team entries, the top-14 individuals get to go to state.

The only person not to have seen the Chewelah layout that combines fairways and cart paths over its 5,000-meter length is Payne, a freshman, who has torn it up for her team, earning the No. 1 spot early and so far it seems is not at all close to relinquishing that honor.

Blankenship said that a crucial spot for his boys to watch is the No. 5 runner for Riverside, who they will vie with for the team berth at Pasco.

"It's going to come down to 'Can we break up their top-two,'" as both chase odds-on favorite and regular-season champ Lakeside. "We're going to put a lot of kids in front of their fifth (place runner)."

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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