LAKEWOOD — The largest cross country invitational in the state of Washington, the Hole in the Wall, is hosted each year by Lakewood High School — and this year was no exception as the school saw more than 2,000 runners and 72 schools compete on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Cross country runners from middle school to high school from across the state and even outside the country competed, but Marysville and Lakewood high schools still managed to take top spots and finish with a number of personal records.
"Lakewood High School had quite a few kids with PRs, which we are really pleased with," said Jeff Sowards, LHS head coach. "I thought the kids ran pretty solid. The top two varsity performances were Ariel Jensen with a 19.41 and Alex Cooper with a 17.20. Douglas Davis ran the fastest, with just over 17."
The Lakewood Middle School girls team took the top spot in the 1.72 mile race with an average time of 12:05.6 and their boys team placed third with an average time of 11:51.
Lakewood's JV girls team placed eighth with an average time of 22:27.7 and their JV boys team finished in 14th place with an average time of 19:33.4.Varsity team performances cracked the top 20 as well, with Lakewood girls varsity rounded up a 17th place finish with an average time of 21:16.7.
Lakewood's Brandon Shepard finished with an 18:10.4 and Matt Studzinski finished with an 18:29.6. Preston Davis finished with an 18:36.1 and Connor Smith finished with an 18:53.6. Douglas Davis finished in the varsity competition with a 17:04.9. Drew Cabales finished with a 17:25.2.
"Preston Davis ran about 59 seconds faster than he has every run this season," said Sowards. "Ellen Knowles ran 37 seconds faster than she ever has."Knowles finished with a time of 22:03.4 and Chiara Flores finished with a 22:09.2, keeping both of them in the top 30 JV performances.
Varsity girls performances for Lakewood were also a success, with Jensen finishing in 29th place with a 19:41.4. Darby Thronsden finished at 21:11.8 and Rachel Sowards finished with a 21:30.3. Lilly Whitehead finished with a 21:56.2, Sara Newman finished at 22:04.1, Alisa Smith finished at 22:09.1 and Celine Espinoza finished with a 22:40.2.
Marysville-Pilchuck runners also made some impressive finishes, with Chris Moen at 18:12.8, Josh Bevan at 18:59.5 and Michael Dufour at 19:05.3. Ryan Daurie and Ivan Cristi finished with times of 19:56.6 and 19:56.7, respectively.
Varsity girls Carly McCartney and Sierra Broker finished with time of 21:47.7 and 22:41.8, respectively. M-P's JV runner David Adams finished with a time of 20:37.3 and Dillon Ahola finished with a 21:41.9.
"This meet is obviously really big now and some of the things that come with that grow exponentially," said Sowards. "We have a new scoring system and a new timing system, but our volunteers did an awesome job."
Lakewood runners are now gearing up for the Cascade Conference Championships at South Whidbey on Oct. 20.