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World photo/Mike Bonnicksen Wenatchee runner McKenna White and left and Cascade runner Lauren Muscutt run with a group a couple of weeks ago at Walla Walla Point Park. White won that afternoon but Muscutt beat her on Thursday to place first at the North Central Region Championships. 

WENATCHEE — The Cascade cross country runners showed their prowess Thursday at the North Central Region Championships, with the boys placing first as a team and junior Lauren Muscutt finishing nearly 20 seconds ahead of the second-place runner, McKenna White from Wenatchee.

Every team in the region sent runners to Walla Walla Point Park, where both the divisional and regional championship meets were held. The Cascade girls placed second behind Wenatchee.

“That’s what we were hoping for,” Cascade head coach Dayle Massey said Friday. “It wasn’t a fast day; it was a little windy and the ground a little wet but it was a really good day and I’m happy with the results.”

For Muscutt, the win avenges a close loss to White from a couple of weeks ago — her only non-first place finish of the season. Likewise, Thursday was the first race this season in which the Wenatchee senior didn’t place first.

What’s crazy, Massey noted, is that this is the first season Mustcutt has run cross country. She placed third in the 800-meter dash at the 2019 1A state track meet, and used to play soccer but switched to cross country this winter.

“I’m glad she did,” Massey said. “She has a really good sprint so we thought if she could just stay with McKenna for most of the race, she would have a good chance to kick it into gear at the end. She ran a perfect race.”

Cashmere senior Rob McManus placed first for the boys; he’s taken first in every race this season and was poised to compete for a state title after taking second at last year’s 1A state meet.

Cascade’s Landon Davies (16:28.6) finished second, Owen Bard (17:20.8) placed seventh and Aiden Tuttle (17:23.4) took eighth. Eastmont had two runners finish in the top-10: Adrian Cabrera (17:01.2, fourth) and Ethan Child (17:30.5, 10th), and Wenatchee had one: Ian Eifert (17:02.4, fifth).

“It was a fun season for the kids, mostly about social-time since there isn’t much of that at school. I certainly feel like we were just getting into shape and the kids were forced to run fast a little before they were ready, which may explain some of the small-ish injuries we had, but for the boys, this was our year. We were hoping to win state after taking fifth last year and second the year before. We won the regional championship, sure, but we were really hoping to win a state title this year, especially the seniors.”

Still, with a good number of returners presumably next fall, Massey should have another squad that could compete for a title in November.

Aside from White, who finishes as one of Wenatchee's most decorated cross country runners, the Panthers had four other girls place within the top-10: Lauren Miller (20:10.1, third), Haley Loewen (20:46.1, fifth), Kirsten Jarmin (20:52.1, seventh) and Amara Berry (21:14.7, 10th).

Cascade’s Zoe McDevitt (20:12.3) placed fourth and Cashmere’s Kylee Foster (20:50.7) and Sydney Smith (21:05.7) finished sixth and ninth, respectively.

Sports Reporter

Zach Johnson is a 28-year-old sportswriter from Lakewood, Colorado. When he's not covering local sporting events you can find him carding birdies at many of the state's public golf courses, biking the Apple Capital Loop Trail, or skiing Mission Ridge.