The Sehome girls cross country team is the definition of a dynasty. By winning the Class 2A state title Saturday at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, the Mariners added their ninth crown in 12 years since they joined the 2A ranks and their 10th overall.
But coach Kevin Ryan said he had no idea this one was coming. In fact, he still can’t believe it happened.
“This one was definitely the most improbable,” Ryan said. “This summer, we were worried that we would even qualify for state. To come all this way and win this thing is amazing.”
Even more amazing when you factor in that the Mariners lost No. 4 runner Jess Gill to injury midway through Saturday’s race. But somehow, some way, Sehome found a way to make it happen.
“We have some runners that have no experience in this race,” said top Sehome finisher Rosie Kirker, who placed eighth – one of two Mariners to finish on the podium Saturday along with Aspen Allsop in 11th, though Emma Hageman was just off it in 17th. “They took a big step up, and they helped this team, and they saved our team.”
They certainly did, as Emma Berreth gutted out a 37th-place finish and Isabelle Douglas came across 71st, giving the Mariners 101 points, six points better than Spokane West Valley and seven points ahead of third-place Bellingham.
“I’m just amazed,” said Kirker, a sophomore. “I didn’t expect it. ... I’m really happy – there’s no feeling quite like this.”
Hageman is the only senior of the six runners who finished Saturday, as Kirker and Annie Dillon (128th overall) are sophomores, Allsop is a junior and Berreth and Douglas are freshmen. Regardless of age, they all bought into working hard this season.
“We did didn’t think we’d be going to state this summer, so we trained as hard as we could,” Kirker said. “We put every once of energy we could into it, and it definitely paid off.”
The Mariners also drew inspiration from Gill, who battled through the nagging Achillies injury this season just for the opportunity to compete Saturday. The team attempted to work her back into the lineup as an alternate at last week’s bi-district meet, pulling her out at the 2.1-mile mark so she didn’t push too hard but still giving her a chance to prepare for the state race.
“All the girls knew how hard she was working and how much pain she going was through just to get back,” Ryan said. “It was one of our rallying cries – if Jess can work that hard and go through that much pain just to get back, we can go through a little pain in this race.
“And they did. They fought hard for it, and they deserve it. It was really something. I’m still shocked. They just ran out of their heads.”
Class 2A girls results
Livi Lackland Henry