Since 2005, the Sehome boys' cross country team has finished either first or second at the state meet.
But the Mariners didn't head to Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco for the Class 2A State Championships looking quite like themselves on Saturday, Nov. 9.
What was thought to be a little bit of a hiccup with a one-point loss to Squalicum at the Oct. 24 Northwest Conference Championships, turned out to be a serious reason for concern on Nov. 2, when Sehome placed third behind both the Storm and Lakewood at the 2A Bi-District meet.
"I think the last couple of weeks and conference have been a wake up call," Sehome co-coach Kevin Ryan said in a phone interview. "Since then, we've focused more and done more things the right way and made sure we're taking the right steps. We've made sure we're all moving in the right direction."
That direction turned out to be to a repeat 2A team title on Saturday.
Spurred by Kirby Overman's seventh-place finish and strong runs up and down their lineup, the Mariners beat Squalicum 102-128 to claim their fifth title in program history.
"It means a whole lot," Overman said in a phone interview." We worked really hard for it this year. We came out and we performed."
Combining the boys' title with Sehome's girls' crown won earlier in the day, the Mariners have now swept the team championships for a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association record four times.
And like the girls, the only way the Sehome boys got there this year was by overcoming adversity by sticking together.
"It really means the world to me after being a part of the one last year and working with this group of guys and getting out and running," senior Nathan LeTavec said in a phone interview. "Having it all culminate into this one great day, where we performed the best - I can't describe it."
The Mariners decided to celebrate it the way they always do - stopping off at Miner's in Yakima for burgers and shakes.
There's not disputing those extra calories are well deserved.
"We just came out, we knew exactly what we needed to do, and we did exactly that," Overman said. "We followed the plan we set."
That plan was set a day earlier during a course preview that Ryan described as "extremely effective with all the kids listening," and "somewhat animated at times."
LeTavec said what made the plan work was keeping it simple.
"It was a great preview beforehand," he said. "We went over a few key spots. We didn't want to over think things. We just wanted to come out and take care of business."
And the Mariners did that by focusing on being progressive.
"We wanted to make sure everyone was moving up throughout the race," Ryan said. "We talked about being progressive - you want to be going the right direction. Everyone's hurting late, but if you can move up, you're going in the right direction."
The Mariners started moving forward at the top, where Overman worked his way up to seventh with a time of 15:57.80 behind Lake Washington race winner Devon Grove (15:29.72).
Sophomores Riley Allsop and Colton Johnsen had huge races for the Mariners, placing 24th in 16:30.52 and 26th in 16:30.94, respectively.
"Those two sophomores, they really pushed and moved progressively throughout the race, and that put us in position to win," LeTavec said.
Juniors Ben Stalheim and Zane Markosian rounded out Sehome's scoring five in 47th and 56th places, respectively, while Noah Ringer was right behind in 57th and LeTavec finished 76th.
"Colton and Riley pulled each other along the whole way today," Ryan said. "Ben and Zane and Noah did a great job of pulling each other along. Sometimes you see teams running together, and they end up holding each other back. Our guys ran together and pulled each other along throughout the race. That's how they kept moving forward."
And that's how Sehome got to celebrate a 2A sweep repeat.
"We all just went crazy," Overman said. "We were all really happy. We were running around cheering and hugging each other."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
2A BOYS' TEAM SCORES
School Total 1 2 3 4 5 *6 *7
Sehome 102 6 16 17 28 35 36 51
Squalicum 128 2 9 26 44 47 53 75
Cedarcrest 149 4 21 22 48 54 64 80
Yakima West Valley 156 15 20 34 42 45 79 81
Sequim 166 25 31 32 38 40 52 60
MOST BOYS' TEAM TITLES
No. School Years
15 Mead 2008, 2007, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1976
9 North Central 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 1977
8 Bishop Blanchet 2004, 2002, 2001, 1992, 1991, 1986, 1984, 1983
8 Ferris 2009, 2005, 2005, 2004, 2003, 1981, 1980, 1968
7 Omak 1999, 2994, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1972, 1971
6 Nine Mile Falls Lakeside 2011, 2010, 2008, 2006, 1998, 1997
5 King's 2008, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
5 Richland 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971, 1970
5 Sehome 2013, 2012, 2010, 2008, 2005
4 Burlington-Edison 2009, 2007, 2006, 1967
4 Curtis 1974, 1973, 1971, 1965
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.