ARLINGTON - Ferndale cross country runner Roberto Aguilera never imagined he'd qualify for the state meet during his second year as a Golden Eagle.
But that's exactly where he's heading after braving forceful winds and pellet-sized raindrops during the Class 3A District cross country meet Saturday afternoon, Nov. 2, at Lakewood High School in Arlington.
"It was tiring at the beginning, because it was windy and the rain would hurt you a bit, but it was just a good race," Aguilera said. "I got through it, and I couldn't have done it without everyone cheering me on."
And when Aguilera says he couldn't have done it without spectator's cheers, he means it.
"I didn't pay attention to that," said the Ferndale sophomore, when asked if he knew what place he was in toward the end of the race. "I just heard someone yell, 'You're in 13th,' and I was, 'OK, you got to kick it now,' and I did."
Aguilera's 10th-place finish qualified him for state by five spots. He navigated the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 23.06 seconds.
The state meet is Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Unfortunately, Jillian Anderson's bid to get there ended in heartbreak during the girls' 3A race.
The pint-sized runner missed the cutline by two spots, finishing in 17th with a time of 20:29.73. Anderson was in 11th place toward the beginning of the race and fell back to 13th midway through. But Anderson had fallen out of the top 15 the next time runners were visible during the race's final 200 meters.
"I thought in the conditions it was all right," said Anderson of her run. "I tried my best, and that's all I can do. The team is great. All season we have been working so hard, and I think we really did our best today."
The cold visibly took a toll on Anderson's body, and the strong winds undoubtedly stifled a runner of her stature.
"It was cold," she said. "I couldn't feel my muscles. I thought I ran hard, though. It was hard in the beginning to stay warmed up, and during the race the wind is blowing right at you. It's difficult, but getting the wind at your back makes it nice."
Anderson still has two more years to reach state.
Behind Anderson, Ferndale's Jana Peterson ran a 21:39.70, Laura Tkacsik ran a 22:45.51, Kathryn Vajda finished in a 23:28.42 and Mikaela Hernandez rounded out the Golden Eagles' top five with her 23:39.50.
On the boys' side, Kaleb Palmby ran a 18:34.67, Wiley Wright posted a 19:26.31, Zach Sulak finished with a 19:38.12 and Matthew Steiber ran a 19:46.16.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
Lakewood High School
Team scores: 1. Glacier Peak 43; 2. Mountlake Terrace 51; 3. Oak Harbor 72; 4. Stanwood 116; 5. Shorecrest 133; 6. Shorewood 147; 7. Marysville Getchell 174; 8. Ferndale 176; 9. Meadowdale 260; 10. Marysville-Pilchuck 279. (Top three advance to state)
Top individual finishers: 1. Katherine Gustafson (Mountlake Terrace) 18:59.21; 2. Heidi Smith (Glacier Peak) 19:00.40; 3. Ella Schroth (Mountlake Terrace) 19:01.80; 4. Sophia Nelson (Mountlake Terrace) 19:12.97; 5. Jonalynn Horn (Oak Harbor) 19:14.41; 6. Alexandra Laiblin (Oak Harbor) 19:27.68; 7. Katherine Dittmann (Glacier Peak) 19:28.11; 8. Gigi Vujovich (Shorecrest) 19:29.80; 9. Katherine Walter (Mountlake Terrace) 19:38.86; 10. Megan Davis (Glacier Peak) 19:44.65.
Ferndale: Jillian Anderson 20:29.73; Jana Peterson 21:39.70; Laura Tkacsik 22:45.51; Kathryn Vajda 23:28.42; Mikaela Hernandez 23:29.50; Kara Collins 23:57.80; Katherine Chamblin 24:36.51.
Lakewood High School
Team scores: 1. Shorewood 48; 2. Mountlake Terrace 62; 3. Glacier Peak 65; 4. Oak Harbor 92; 5. Stanwood 148; 6. Meadowdale 183; 7. Shorecrest 192; 8. Ferndale 230; 9. Everett 232; 10. Marysville-Pilchuck 248; 11. Marysville Getchell 249. (Top three advance to state)
Top individual finishers: 1. John Rodeheffer (Oak Harbor) 16:27.15; 2. Omar Abdulla (Shorewood) 16:39.08; 3. Kennan Stephens (Shorewood) 17:02.96; 4. Keagan Smith (Glacier Peak) 17:05.14; 5. Jack Pearce (Mountlake Terrace) 17:06.55; 6. Peter Kidane (Mountlake Terrace) 17:06.83; 7. Andrew Christianson (Shorewood) 17:15.22; 8. Cameron Wagstaff (Marysville Getchell) 17:23.71; 9. Dominic Giordano (Meadowdale) 17:23.57; 10. Roberto Aguilera (Ferndale) 17:23.06.
Ferndale: Roberto Aguilera 17:23.06; Kaleb Palmby 18:34.67; Wiley Wright 19:26.31; Zach Sulak 19:38.12; Matthew Steiber 19:46.16; Wesley Cruse 20:00.61; Jacob Ramirez 20:20.56.