After finishing 65th in the Boys’ Class 1A cross country state championships last year, Brooks DeWaard of Lynden Christian ran the race of his life and finished seventh this year in Pasco.
“I knew it was going to be a challenging race,” DeWaard said. “It was a big improvement for me.”
DeWaard had a fast start and positioned himself in 17th place for much of the race. As the race neared the finish line, DeWaard battled to improve to eighth, running side by side with Cedar Park Christian’s Ryan Abdalla. From there, DeWaard said, he just tried to hold off the guys behind him.
Coach Darren Postma said he knew it was going to be a challenging race, too, but that DeWaard had made considerable progress from last year.
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“There were a lot of good runners returning from last year, and they were in the main front pack at the beginning of the race,” Postma said.
Another returner from last year was Lynden Christian runner Eric Steiger. He was 19th for most of the race and, despite not making a surge like DeWaard, finished on the podium in 14th place. Steiger finished 14th last year as well but improved his time by 6.6 seconds. Postma said Steiger wasn’t feeling well the night before the race and had to excuse himself from the team dinner. He said it was a “gutty” race, given the circumstances.
Meridian’s Barnes sets PR by 20 seconds, finishes ninth
Kenny Barnes of Meridian finished ninth and set a personal record by 20 seconds with his finish of 16 minutes, 29.4 seconds.
“I didn’t expect to get ninth so it was a mix of surprise and excitement,” Barnes said. “I was just kind of trying to keep pace, and then I passed a few within the last mile.”
Coach Mike Holz said Barnes was aggressive from the start and finished well.
“Honestly, it was a phenomenal race,” Holz said. “It was out of the blue and probably even more exciting to see him step up.”
Nathan Schneider (28) and Abbas Theophilus (41) set personal-best marks and helped lead Meridian to a seventh-place team finish. McKay Ross (70), Bailey Hodge (90), Joe Wilson (107) and Derek Holz (112) all helped Meridian earn points.
“It’s cool for our program,” Holz said. “Ultimately, it’s about the team and where we’re at.”
Class 1A boys state results