PORTLAND — The Wenatchee cross country team was split up Saturday, with most of the Panthers’ varsity runners participating in the Nike Pre-Nationals meet in Portland, while another group, consisting mostly of junior varsity and younger harriers, competed at the Pasco Invite.
The fact that Wenatchee was able to participate in two different meets — in two different states, no less — and have a large amount of runners take part in competitive races was the best part of the day for coach Susan Valdez.
Last week, the Panthers practiced at four different locations — Quincy on Monday, Wenatchee High School on Tuesday, Leavenworth on Wednesday and the Town Toyota Center on Thursday — in preparation for the meets.
“It was fun that we had a lot of kids compete today,” Valdez said. “We’ve been through a lot with all of the smoke, and it feels good to give kids a chance to get out and race.”
In Portland, the Panthers girls finished third in the 5,000-meter division two varsity race. Marissa Dotter was Wenatchee’s top finisher, placing 12 with a time of 20 minutes, 45 seconds.
“To have Marissa and Raquel (Thody, who finished 16th) and Sophie (Marshall, 19th) all in the top 20 was huge,” Valdez said.
Wenatchee’s boys finished 16th, led by Cole Christman’s 11th-place finish in a time of 16:19.98.
“Cole ran really well,” Valdez said. “He seems to be taking over the No. 1 spot.”
At the Pasco Invite, the Panthers boys put up another 16th-place performance; Justin Pringle was Wenatchee’s top finisher with a time of 18:32.2 in the 5,000-meter varsity race. Wenatchee’s girls finished seventh, with Ashley Murie placing 24th with a time of 22:27.2.
Eastmont also competed in Pasco. The Wildcats’ boys took eight place, led by Bret Lindell’s 17:01.2, good enough for sixth place.
Betsy Arlt finished sixth in a time of 20:10.2 to lead Eastmont’s girls to a fifth-place finish.
Wenatchee 3, Central Valley 2
Wenatchee 3, Mead 2
Wenatchee emerged from its nonleague doubleheader with hard-fought victories over two perennial powers.
In both matches, the host Panthers (5-1) won the deciding fifth set by small margins. Against Kent, Wenatchee rebounded after dropping the first two sets.
“We figured out as a team that we can win in five. Not every team can do that,” said Panthers coach LeAnne McGahuey. “If you’re struggling, you don’t think you can win (the fifth set). Our girls know now that they can win in five, and that’s huge. We had great leadership today.”
Rachel Leiber and Christie Adams led the Panthers in both matches. Leiber had 18 kills and six aces against Central Valley, and 17 kills against Mead. Adams had three blocks and 17 digs against Central Valley and 14 kills, seven blocks and 19 digs against Mead.
“At the start of the day, our team goal was to leave the gym a better team regardless of the wins and losses,” McGahuey said. “We were able to do that. The kids are tired, but very excited.”
Cascade 3, Omak 0
The unbeaten Kodiaks didn’t have any trouble in their Caribou Trail League victory. Kaycee O’Brien and Syd Coffin had four aces each to lead a strong serving effort for Cascade.
Chelan 3, Brewster 1
Chelan beat Brewster in a match of top CTL squads. Courtney Dietrich had 17 kills, 10 digs, five blocks and seven aces for the Goats (6-1). Andie Gebbers led the Bears with 15 kills.
Eastmont 1, Kennedy 1 (tie)
Lindsay Martin headed in a goal off an assist from Jerusha Pech to tie the game in the 43rd minute for Eastmont.
Jade Sherrel made seven saves in goal for the Wildcats, who outshot the Lancers 15-7 in the non-league road game.