YAKIMA — Thursday’s District Cross Country Meet in Yakima will be the culmination of a lot of hard work for several local athletes.
There are two state berths for teams on both the girls and boys teams, and with the Eisenhower teams all but claiming them already, a team from the Wenatchee Valley should assume the remaining two spots.
The Eastmont and Wenatchee girls cross country teams have been about as even as possible this entire season.
“Every way you slice it, we come out even,” Wildcats head coach Gary Millard said.
The Panthers will rely on their depth, while Eastmont will hope that junior standout Betsy Arlt will compete for first place again. But that isn’t to say that the other girls on the Eastmont team won’t play a big factor.
“Every one of them have to do what they do,” Millard said. “Every person matters, you can’t pin it on any group of them. It’s all of them.”
Wenatchee head coach Susan Valdez said there will be no shortage of desire between the two squads.
”I know both teams want it and they want it bad,” she said. “There are a lot of kids on both teams that have been working hard. … They know what they have to do.”
The Panthers’ top spot has revolved all season among Lindsey Wapato, Sophie Marshall and Raquel Thody.
The good news for both teams is that even if they don’t earn a team berth to the state meet, individual athletes can still qualify by cracking the top 10.
On the boys side of things it appears that Ike and Wenatchee have the team berths locked up.
“I told the boys, unless somebody gets sick or something happens, we’re trying to look ahead to the following week,” Valdez said. “But you don’t want to take anything for granted.”
On the contrary, Valdez is hoping her runners can catch the powerhouse from Yakima by surprise to claim the district title.
“For (Eisenhower) this is a formality. I told the boys let’s try to shake it up and let’s see what can happen — see if we can place ahead of their No. 3 runner and so on,” Valdez said.
Millard hopes he can get at least one of his boy athletes into the state race.
Bret Lindell, Matt Olson, Grant Gilbert and Eric Ballard could all came close to finishing in the top 10.