WENATCHEE — It looked, to the untrained eye, that Eastmont cross country standout Betsy Arlt would come in second for most of the Big Nine league meet on Tuesday.
But two-thirds of the way into the race, Arlt made her move on Eisenhower’s Elise Tello — a runner the junior from Eastmont had yet to beat — and pushed through to win at Walla Walla Point Park with a time of 18 minutes, 10.49 seconds.
“She’s been looking at her backside for two years every time, five or six times a season. This was nice, very nice,” Wildcats coach Gary Millard said. “… (Assistant) coach (Marty) Gwinn saw that Elise wasn’t doing too well. We had told Betsy to just hang off of her. Be close. And coach Gwinn said, ‘It looks like she’s suffering, you have to go.’ She just took her right there and she just opened the gap.”
It appeared as if Tello was laboring with the three-mile course, while Arlt had more of an effortless stride. Although, after the race, it was clear that the race — and victory — was no easy feat for Arlt.
“I just really tried to push it hard for a good, I don’t know, 20 strides or so and try to maintain. (I) made the change and then maintained,” Arlt said. “… Running cross country is tough. You need a breather after you’re done with a race like that.”
Millard said he saw something in Arlt that he’d never seen before Tuesday’s race.
“It’s the only time she was running scared,” the coach said. “Fear is good sometimes. Fear can make you go pretty fast.”
Eastmont’s Molly Gwinn came in fifth with a time of 19:22.69 as the Wildcats finished second behind Ike. Wenatchee’s Lindsey Wapato and Sophie Marshall led the Panthers by finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.
“I’m pretty sure they posted one of their fastest times this year,” Wenatchee head coach Susan Valdez said. “… It’s going to be tough. It counts next week (at the district meet). Eastmont beat us this week, but next week, it’s invite scoring. A little bit different way to look at it. It’s a hilly course, and our kids like the hills. It’s a whole new race next week.”
On the boys side, Cole Christman of Wenatchee finished second behind Eisenhower’s Drew Schreiber. Sam Martin came in third as the Panthers took second behind the Cadets.
Martin was neck-and-neck with Ike’s No. 2 runner, but pulled away down the stretch.
“We had a hard week last week,” Valdez said. “We were using last week to get ready for districts. We might have had some dead legs, so to get some (personal records) is pretty good with the work we did last week.”
Wenatchee’s Austen Lane came in eighth with a time of 16:07.14.
Eastmont’s runners stayed close thereafter as Bret Lindell finished ninth, Eric Ballard took 11th and Matt Olson was 13th.
“It was just nice to see them battling up front where they belong,” Millard said. “It was one of those things where they have to believe. They took a step in that direction today.”
Moses Lake 1, Wenatchee 0
Wenatchee (6-2 Big Nine) was shut out by host Moses Lake (8-0) in a match-up of the two top teams in the Big Nine.
“Our defense did a fantastic job,” said Wenatche coach John Springer. “Moses Lake played aggressively, and our girls were up for the challenge.”
Jackie Bollinger made 15 saves for the Panthers.
Davis 4, Eastmont 1
The Wildcats took an early lead in a lethargic game but couldn’t hold on as the Pirates scored four straight.
“It is frustrating given the point of the season that we’re in, but you’ve got to learn from everything,” Eastmont head coach Erin Kavanaugh said.
The Cats host Sunnyside on Tuesday and Eisenhower on Thursday to wrap up the regular season.
“We need to win both of those games to secure third,” Kavanaugh said. “If we take care of business the next couple games, we should be fine. The way that the teams are, you give up an inch, they’re taking a mile. We talk about how you can’t let up for a minute, let alone 70. It was good for us to see that this is what happens when everybody is not playing up to their potential.”
Freshman Kalea Bokma scored Eastmont’s only goal in the 10th minute.
Wenatchee 3, Moses Lake 2
Kiana Black and Rachel Leiber had record-setting performances for Wenatchee in its 25-20, 20-25, 26-24, 22-25, 15-5 win over Moses Lake.
Black set a new Panthers record for kills in a match with 25, but Leiber quickly set the record again with 31.
“Rachel was on fire,” said Wenatchee coach LeAnne Branam. “I’m super proud of (Rachel and Kiana). They kept fighting and pushing. A lot of other girls had chances, too, and they played well.”
Wenatchee (6-2 Big Nine) remains in second place in the Big Nine.
Eastmont 3, Davis 2
The Wildcats rallied for their second Big Nine win of the season, beating the Pirates 14-25, 25-23, 25-21, 17-25, 15-11.
Rachel Simpson had 12 kills and three blocks and Jessica Prewitt had 20 assists.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” Cats head coach Molly Nelson said. “We lost to them the first time, so it was a great challenge for us to try to beat them in their home gym, and we did it.”
Eastmont still has a shot at making the district tournament, but will have to win one of its two remaining games — both on the road — to keep that chance alive. The Wildcats play Big Nine-leading Eisenhower on Thursday.
Wenatchee 142, Ike 42
Wenatchee 163, Davis 21
Wenatchee 137, Sunnyside 24.5
Host Wenatchee won 10 of the 12 events en route to an easy victory at the four-team meet.
The Panthers’ 200 freestyle relay time of 1 minute, 40.55 seconds is a new state top mark, and the team’s 400 freestyle relay time of 3:40.78 was seven seconds under the state qualifying time as the second-fastest in the state so far this season, and set a new school record.
“Coming in, we wanted to focus on getting the best relay times that we could,” said Panthers coach James Elwyn. “We got three fast times in the relays, which was pretty cool.”
Moses Lake 101, Eastmont 85
Adrian Marquis won the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races, and was part of Eastmont’s winning relay teams in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.