Willy wins; 'Riders bring the brooms

"CHICO - Port Angeles brought more with it to Thursday's Olympic League cross country championships than the prohibitive boys favorite.It brought the brooms.The Roughrider girls out-ran defending championship Central Kitsap to join their male counterparts atop the standings for a championship sweep in the rainy-day run at Kitsap Golf and Country Club.CK's Cathleen Willy was the individual girls champion and freshman teammate Kim Reiland ran third. But Port Angeles placed three runners in the top 10, paced by Marlene Blackburn's sixth-place posting, to edge the defending champion Cougars 53-62 for the team title.The Cougs' runner-up finish still qualifies them for Wednesday's West Central District meet at Lake Spanaway.They'll be joined there, in addition to PA squads of both genders, by the Olympic boys, who ran third overall but second among the league's Class 4A teams to claim the district berth.Port Angeles had five boys finish in the top 10, including individual winner Frank Prince, who steamed past defending champ Jake Haskins of Port Townsend in the final 200 meters to win by 2 seconds with a time of 16 minutes, 23 seconds. Oly's Dan Frederick, a sophomore, ran third.Willy toured the three-lap Kitsap layout in 19:08, whipping her nearest competitor, Port Townsend senior Cassie Weyhmiller, by 35 seconds. A junior, she'll have another crack next year at the course record of 18:56 established by Oly's Haley Acre in 1998.I was aiming for right about 19, thinking maybe eighteen fifty-something, but I'm not disappointed at all, said Willy. I think 19:07 is pretty good in this race, with the weather the way it was. In a race like this, (your time) depends on a lot of factors.Willy left little to chance, seizing the lead during the first time around the course and enlarging it gradually through the rest of the race. She and Reiland ran 1-2 much of the way, but Weyhmiller, a senior veteran, eased into the runner-up spot during the final mile.Oly's Megan Walker-Richards ran fourth, helping the Trojans to a third-place team finish, just five points behind CK. Troy also placed Julia Corbett (seventh) and Brigit Iles (10th) in the top 10.Bremerton's Josie Lavin, a preseason pick to contend for the league title, didn't run because of nagging injuries.Haskins ran at the front of the pack for almost all of the boys race, but couldn't hold off the dogged Prince - whose hard-charging victory put an exclamation point on the 'Riders' decisive team victory (29 points to runner-up Port Townsend's 79 and Oly's 90). Bainbridge was fourth with 93 and CK - without No. 1 runner Patrick Hunley - was fifth at 135.I had expected Jake to take the lead and for Port Angeles to run in a group, because they run real strong that way, said Frederick, who finished in 16:42. I wanted to just stick to them early and push it at some point. I wanted to get top five. Top three is a good race.Oly's Christian Walker-Richards grabbed 10th place at 17:04. Scott Eickmeyer was the top CK finisher, crossing the line 19th in 17:27. Bremerton's Joe Miller was impressive in his sophomore outing, finishing seventh in 16:45.Conditions were a nearly polar opposite of the last couple of league meets, which helped protect the respective course records of Acre for the girls and CK's Jeff Driscoll (15:55, also set in 1998) for the boys.It's harder to run in the rain. It's not as healthy, Willy said. Your muscles get cold faster.But it was a good time and good competition, she added.NOTES: Vancouver's Kelsey Klettke and Port Angeles' Aaron Jaksha won the girls and boys titles, respectively, in a junior high invitational race conducted prior to the high school event. Fairview's Rochelle Duane was the top local finisher among the girls, placing fifth, while Ridgetop's Luke Reichley took sixth to top the local boys. ... The West Central District 4A meet takes place Wednesday at Lake Spanaway State Park, with the girls racing at 3 p.m. and the boys following at 3:30 p.m. "

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