Meridian senior Davis Phillips didn't wait around long after the Class 1A Boys' Cross Country State Championships had concluded on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
He and his family hopped in the car and headed for Lakewood to watch the Trojans' football team take on Charles Wright in the 1A Tri-District Playoffs later that evening.
"I've got to cheer on my boys," Phillips said in a phone interview. "I played with them for a long time, and I wouldn't miss watching them for the world."
Phillips decided to leave the football team midway through his junior season to join cross country, but after finishing 69th at state last year and seeing Meridian finish a disappointing seventh, he probably questioned the decision.
Those questions were erased after Saturday.
Phillips was one of two Trojans runners standing on the podium with his 13th-place finish and helped his team finish third to claim the first boys' trophy in program history.
"They ran absolutely amazing today," Meridian coach Mike Holz said in a phone interview. "They've done a great job all year and got great leadership from Collin (Magnusson). I couldn't ask for a better group of guys."
That group scored 126 points to finish behind Medical Lake (72) and La Center (112).
"It was quite the experience," Magnusson said in a phone interview. "We were waiting around, and to see the coaches coming back from looking at the results with three fingers raised, it was awesome. It's definitely an honor."
The Trojans received that honor by picking off runners over the second half of the race.
"They had me worried early, because we weren't where we were supposed to be," Holz said. "But all of them started picking guys off. Davis had a huge race. The last half mile, he picked off four or five guys to get on the podium."
Phillips finished 13th in 16 minutes, 40.1 seconds.
"It's a totally different finish compared to last year," Phillips said. "The switch couldn't have been better."
Magnusson joined Davis on the podium with his sixth-place finish in 16:23.2
Like Davis, he made a late-race surge, to get on the podium behind Northwest's race winner Graham Peet (15:50.8).
"I started back somewhere around 20th at the beginning," Magnusson said. "I moved up to 10th by mid-race until almost the end. The last 800 meters, I started picking off people. I was trying to surge at the end and of course have a big kick."
It marked the first time Meridian had two boys' runners on the podium in the same year.
Derek Morrow finished 24th in 17:02.7, David Anderson was 30th in 17:06.5 and Derek Holz rounded out the Trojans' scoring runners in 98th place.
"I can't say anybody had a bad race," Mike Holz said. "Our third and fourth runners, Derek and David, I thought they could run 17 minutes-ish. Though they didn't break it, they were right there, and my son ran a phenomenal race, finishing just far enough up there to get us a trophy."
Mount Baker's Shelby Miles narrowly missed a podium finish, placing 17th in 16:45.6, while teammate Ishmael Villaluz was 82nd.
Lynden Christian's Jon Wiley was 50th, while Blaine's Parker Morris finished 54th.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
CLASS 1A BOYS
Pl. Runner School Yr. Time
6. Collin Magnusson Meridian Jr. 16:23.2
13. Davis Phillips Meridian Sr. 16:40.1
17. Shelby Miles Mount Baker Sr. 16:45.6
24. Derek Morrow Meridian Jr. 17:02.7
30. David Anderson Meridian Sr. 17:06.5
50. Jon Wiley Lynden Christian Jr. 17:23.7
54. Parker Morris Blaine So. 17:24.7
82. Ishmael Villaluz Mount Baker Sr. 17:54.8
98. Derek Holz Meridian Fr. 18:06.3
110. Rico Martinez Meridian So. 18:16.2
141. Levi Morrow Meridian Jr. 19:59.9
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.