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Cashmere runner Rob McManus, at left, keeps pace with Selah runner Shea Mattson, who won the men's varsity race at the Leavenworth Invitational X-Country meet, on Saturday Oct. 5. McManus placed second.

LEAVENWORTH — The Eastmont girls and the Cascade boys were the big winners at the Leavenworth Invitational on Saturday at the Leavenworth Ski Hill. Sixteen teams were participating.

The Eastmont girls won their first invitational in four years, according to Head Coach Gary Millard.

“I didn’t see that coming at all. Up until Saturday, we were trying to find out who we are. We have some new kids, some young girls. It was awesome. They ran great. About 2.25 miles in, we still had four girls in the top 10,” Millard said.

Eastmont was first with 51 points. Selah was second with 67 and Cashmere third with 90. Senior Ashlyn Hill was second overall completing the hilly, 2.8-mile course in 19.02. Freshman Dayna Dickson was eighth in 19:53. Freshman Hannah Mikkelsen was 11th in 20:17 and senior Sara Bradshaw was 13th in 20:34.

Millard said it did not surprise him they could do it, but it did surprise him they put it together.

“I have two freshmen on varsity and another girl Elly Goulet, who is a rookie. Sara Bradshaw has chronic ankle issues,” he said. “It’s a mixed group, so they haven’t learned how to come together and compete. So holy cow! Partly off the weekend before when we didn’t step off the line well. We had some conversations about things. They took great control from the start.”

Milliard hopes this gives the girls a confidence boost.

“That’s going to be something we talk about in practice. It’s time to run with it,” he said.

The Eastmont boys finished third behind Cascade and Selah. Senior Jarred Barnes led the Wildcats, finishing fifth in 15:30. Junior Adrian Cabrera was 11th in 15:53.

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Eastmont runner Ashlyn Hill runs up the final hill to the finish line during the Leavenworth Invitational X-Country meet on Saturday Oct. 5. She placed second in the race.

“Last week, Jarred was coming off being sick with the flu. Earlier, he had a knee problem. Last year, he was over 16 minutes on that course, so he had 35 second PR on it this year. Really happy with him,” Millard said. “Adrian Cabrera had a huge improvement from last year.”

At the Bellevue Invite the previous week, Millard said they got educated by some of the west side schools. They had a little chat afterward about what it takes to step up and compete.

“They responded really well. Really, from the gun. They took the position where they needed to be. They didn’t do enough to win it, but I’m real pleased,” he said.

The Cascade boys won the race with 77 points. Selah was second with 91. For the Cascade boys, this was the first time they won the overall race.

“I break it up into small and big schools. We give awards for both divisions. We have won the small school division but this time we also beat all the big schools. That is the first time we have done that,” said Cascade Head Coach Dayle Massey.

The Cascade boys finished second in state 1A last season. Junior Landon Davies was the top Kodiak boy with 4th place finish in 15:21. Sophomore Derek Richardson was eighth in 15:48. Sophomore Owen Bard was 17th, junior Jerome Jerome 21, sophomore Lien Hagedorn 27 and sophomore Jacob Redman 28.

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Runners in the men’s varsity race head out from the start line at the Leavenworth Ski Hill. Leavenworth Invitational X-Country meet.

Massey said the boys ran well.

“Everyone PR’d. The only person who didn’t was Owen Bard. He is still getting over a sickness. He hasn’t had a good race this year. He’s not feeling well at all,” Massey said. “He is fast and still had a good race, but way slower than last year. Everyone else had PR’d and ran really well.”

Last season, Bard was the Caribou Trail League district champion. Massey said his team has been hampered by sickness all year so they have not been running well.

“Even with Owen, not 100 percent, this is the first race where we actually had everybody there running well,” Massey said. “There was a lot of competition. Cashmere is really good this year. It will be tough to beat them at league. Fortunately, we can both go to state. That is really good because both us and Cashmere are pretty competitive.”

Cashmere junior Rob McManus was second overall. Massey believes he is the favorite to win the league this season.

“He is running really well. Unless something crazy happens, he should easily win league. We’re starting really hard workouts and hoping to catch up. Rob is running really well. He’ll be tough to beat,” Massey said of McManus.

The Kodiaks boys, hoping to win state this year, have been looking for a solid number five runner. Currently, they have two sophomore boys vying for the spot.

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After giving it her all and finishing the race, Eastmont runner Sara Bradshaw gets carried down the hill back to flat ground by Eastmont coach Marc Wavra. Bradshaw finished in 13th place in a field of over 140 racers in a combined varsity and junior varsity race during the Leavenworth Invitational X-Country meet.

“Lien Hagedorn has been ahead the last couple times but Jacob Redman has been really sick and is finally feeling better. He’s been nipping at his heels. It’s great having them compete against each other. Both are running strong, so as long as they keep improving, our number five spot is looking better and better,” Massey said.

The Cascade girls finished sixth with junior Zoe McDevitt leading the way with a fifth-place finish. Massey said McDevitt, the 2018 district champ, has been out sick and is not running as well as she could.

“We had a couple of girls not run due to sickness. We were not at full strength. Our second and third fastest girls did not race. We did not expect to do too well,” Massey said. “There is a cold going around that does not go away. It’s just killing us. It has worked through the whole team. Hopefully, by league and state we’ll be healthy.”

Ian Dunn: 664-7157

dunn@wenatcheeworld.com