PASCO — The Cascade Kodiaks boys cross country team finished tied for first at the State 1A Cross Country meet last year, so with nearly everyone back, they came into this season with dreams of winning state.

This year at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco for the 2019 State 1A XC meet, things were looking good for the Kodiaks through the first mile and the second mile as they were in the lead, but in the third mile, one of their top five racers had some trouble.

“Jerome Jerome had been struggling with some breathing issues. He’s had the problem in every race. We were hoping he wouldn’t have the problem again. It did. When that happens, he just can’t run,” said Cascade Head Coach Dayle Massey. “That really slowed him down. We were winning it but then he just got shut down. When that happens, he just can’t breathe.”

The number six and seven runner for the Kodiaks could not make up for it. Even with the breathing issue, Jerome still finished ahead of them. The first four racers were there, Massey said.

“Jerome would have had to run a PR to win. Instead, he had the worst race. That’s what happens. It was a long shot, expecting everyone to have their best races,” Massey said. “We had a chance of winning. We were ranked fourth going into it. It would take our top five to have their best races of the season. Four of them did.”

The Kodiaks finished fifth in the race. The top finisher for the boys was junior Landon Davies, who was fifth.

“Landon did great. It was PR for him. That state course is not particularly fast. He was behind Rob McManus (Cashmere) who has beaten him all season, by 10 seconds. He had a great race. He had a sore throat earlier in the week. He wasn’t working out with us. He pulled it together,” Massey said.

The Kodiaks will have another shot at winning state next season as their top six runners come back.

“We knew this year would be a stretch. We have a couple of fast middle schoolers coming up. Hopefully, we’ll be deeper next year. Our top five are strong but our six and seven are not there. When you only have five, it’s hard for everybody to be on the same day,” he said.

McManus finished second in the race, ten seconds behind the winner, Adam Briejer of Charles Wright Academy.

“He ran really well. He was 44 seconds faster than he was last season when he finished in sixth place. The state champion was a tough guy to beat. He was the returning state champion. That was his second,” said Cashmere Head Coach Jeff Kenoyer. “Rob ran hard and had a good race. He had a really good season.”

The Cashmere boys finished sixth. Out of the seven runners, only three had run at state before.

“They stepped up pretty well. Oscar (Orozco) finished third for us, 32nd overall. It was a personal record for him. Dyllion (Taylor) also had a PR. Sam Kinser was 34 seconds faster. The kids ran well,” Kenoyer said.

For the Chelan boys, the top finisher was sophomore Chris Knight who was 10th.

The Cashmere girls finished fifth at state, their highest finish since 2011.

“The girls had an exceptional race. Six out of seven had either season best or personal record for the course. They ran really well,” Kenoyer said. “Four of the girls had personal record 5k times. I was happy with the way they ran.”

Junior Sydney Smith was 13th. Senior Eleanor Nelson was 36th. Nelson and Johanna Christensen are the two seniors. This was the fourth state meet for Nelson.

The Chelan girls finished 12th as a team. Sophomore Teagan Silva was 24th. Junior Mereya Gariby was 38th.

Ian Dunn: 664-7157

dunn@wenatcheeworld.com