Cross country state title goes to Kamiakin boys
Kennewick’s Johan Correa was not going to be denied.
The senior stuck with the lead pack through the first few miles of Saturday’s Class 3A boys race at the WIAA state cross country championships at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
And when the time was right, Correa kicked his pace up a few notches and pulled away from his competition to win the state title with a partisan home crowd cheering him on.
As he approached the finish line, Correa raised his right arm in jubilation about 100 yards away. He then screamed with joy and raised both arms in triumph as he crossed the finish line with a time of 15 minutes, 26.40 seconds.
“I’m sure those who know me know how hard I work,” said an ecstatic Correa. “I hate to lose. I made the decision after losing to everyone my freshman year I would work hard to get better. I worked my (butt) off.”
The race was tight for the first few miles, as Bainbridge’s Sebastian Belkin and Kamiakin senior Ryan Child ran side by side with him.
As they approached one of the final hills before the 3-mile mark, they were still all together. That was bad news for Belkin and Child.
“I saw in my head that if I could just stay with these guys, I would start my kick and win,” Correa said. “I believe no one can out kick me.”
Belkin and Child were already believers of that.
“I just don’t have the kick Johan has,” said Belkin. “I should have sped off earlier to keep him from kicking it up.”
Child agreed: “I should have started my kick earlier against Johan.”
Child could find solace that he helped lead his Kamiakin boys to a second consecutive team title.
Child’s teammates – Stanford Smith (sixth), Porter Grigg (10th), Issac Teeples (14th) and Peyton Hill (20th) – were the other scoring teammates.
That gave the Braves 37 points. North Central, the team the Braves unseated as champion last year, was second with 74 points.
Kamiakin’s Cameron Gutierrez (21st) and Jax Weide (28th) also placed well for the Braves.
I MADE THE DECISION AFTER LOSING TO EVERYONE MY FRESHMAN YEAR I WOULD GET BETTER.
“I told the guys ‘Whatever you do, if you’re together at the 1-mile mark, we’ll be all right,” said Kamiakin coach Matt Rexus. “They ran a great team race. This is definitely the deepest team I’ve had.”
Rexus was worn out, though.
“I mean, this feels just as good as last year’s first win over North Central,” Rexus said. “But I realize how much pressure there is after you win. I told (North Central coach) Jon Knight I know how he feels now.”
Johan Correa’s younger sister, Geraldin, had a great performance of her own when she finished second in the girls 3A race, covering the course in 18:29.80.
Geraldin finished behind North Central sophomore Allie Janke and her 17:59.10 time. Her teammate, Erinn Hill (who won the state title last year), placed third.
Correa, a junior, was spent by the finish and she got sick. But a few minutes later she realized what a good performance she had.
“I really tried to win,” she said. “The first mile was decent, and the second mile felt good. And I like running into those hills.”
She has the respect of the North Central runners.
“We would have liked to have finished 1 and 2,” said Janke. “But we know Geraldin, and we’ve run a lot against her.”
North Central easily won the team title with 21 points.
McKinzi Teeples led Kamiakin to a secondplace team finish (134 team points) by placing 12th. Kamiakin’s Isabella Qunell (37th), Hannah Paulson (41st) and Brooklyn Meehan (43rd) also placed high. Kennewick’s Macy Marquardt (40th) was also among the top third of the field.
“I really thought we could get second as a team when the year began,” said Kamiakin coach Shaun Suss. “It’s only the second time we’ve ever had a second-place trophy at Kamiakin. I feel like we won the race because it was already determined who would win with North Central.”
Mt. Si’s Joe Waskom, headed to the University of Washington next year to run, moved steadily up through the pack, then out kicked Eisenhower’s Jonas Price to win the individual title with a time of 15:16.2.
“I ran the perfect race,” said the senior. “I stayed with the pack, then I gave everything I had the final 200 yards.”
Waskom was third his sophomore year, and 10th last season.
“It’s been a goal of mine since my freshman year to win this,” said Waskom.
Price placed second. Hanford’s Caleb Olson finished ninth, while Richland’s Riley Moore was 16th.
Walla Walla junior Cooper Cortinas was 23rd, while teammate Cannon Angotti was 41st.
Tahoma won the team title with 94 points, just 2 points ahead of Central Valley.
Bellarmine Prep freshman Ella Borsheim kicked it into overdrive after the 2-mile mark and ran away with the title, beating Julia David-Smith of Issaquah and Lake Stevens senior Taylor Roe.
Roe won the 4A title as a freshman and sophomore, and was second last year as a junior.
Walla Walla sophomore Ella Nelson finished fifth.
Other Mid-Columbians to place high included Richland’s Emma Summers (32nd), Wa-Hi’s Sariah Hepworth (47th) and Chiawana’s Alexa Neff (53rd) – the school’s first-ever state cross country participant.
Glacier Peak took the team title easily with 77 points.
Pullman Junior Eliason Kabasenche edged out Ridgefield’s Kyle Radosevich for the victory, with a time of 15:44.70.
Sehome won the team title with 84 points.
Washougal senior Amelia Pullen out kicked Bellingham’s Annika Reiss to take the individual crown.
It was the third time in her career that Reiss had finished second at state.
But Reiss did help her team take a share of the team title, tying West Valley of Spokane for first at 118 points.
Adam Briejer of Charles Wright Academy ran away from the field over the final mile to win the individual title. Connell’s Nolan Chase (15th) and Dallin Price (18th) finished among the top 20.
Connell’s Peyton Berg (30th), College Place’s Drew Adams (45th), Wahluke’s Yerik Arellano (53rd) and Connell’s Sam Keskitalo (54th) also placed high. Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls and Cascade of Leavenworth tied for first in the team title race with 113 points each.
Naomi Smith of King’s ran away from the field in the final half-mile to take the individual title. College Place’s Melia Loe placed 48th. Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls won the team title with 108 points.
Adna’s Austen Apperson successfully defended his title, easily outdistancing the field with a time of 15:56.40 – 25 seconds ahead of the next closest runner. Jacoby Wieber of Tri-Cities Prep placed 12th. Northwest Christian of Lacey won its fifth consecutive boys team title with 59 points.
Liberty Bell’s Novie McCabe also defended her individual title with ease, beating her closest competitor by 49 seconds. Celeste Davis of Tri-Cities Prep finished 32nd.
Liberty Bell also won the team title with 56 points.
Kennewick’s Johan Correa won the WIAA 3A boys state cross country championship Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. Correa finished in 5 minutes, 26.40 seconds.
The Kamiakin boys, ranked in the top 10 in the nation, repeated as the Class 3A team state champions Saturday.