Cougars step up at home Hole in the Wall Invite

Still in the first mile, Nick Devier, left, and Taylor Guske lead the pack through the so-called hole in the wall the cross country invitational is named for. -
Still in the first mile, Nick Devier, left, and Taylor Guske lead the pack through the so-called hole in the wall the cross country invitational is named for.
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LAKEWOOD A fine mist of delicate raindrops filled the air. It was foggy and windy, which made for a cold first mile.
But the weather wasnt enough to deter the 49 schools and 1,500-plus runners who turned out to compete in the 24th annual Hole in the Wall Invitational at Lakewood High School Oct. 6.
Runners and their supporters sought refuge from the weather in the stands of the football stadium, under hats and in mugs of coffee and hot chocolate served by volunteers. Some 60 parents and alumni came together to help put on the meet.
We have great parent support. I know that might be a cliche, but it really is true. (Coach) Jon (Murray) and I showed up a little after 5 a.m., and by 6 or 6:30, there must be 10 or 12 dads who have their assignments already and know what to do about setting up the course, said coach and meet director Jeff Sowards. Some of them drive from as far away as Vancouver, Wash., to help out. I cant say enough how great their support is.
Perhaps the Lakewood team had an additional advantage on its home course, but Sowards said a large number of his runners had great races.
Driven to run with the best, junior Nick Devier has spent much of the season chasing and hoping to outpace Sehome standout Mason McHenry. Devier led much of the varsity boys race, ceding only 10 seconds and three places to the returning 2A boys champion who took first.
Devier finished in 16:27.
I cant say enough about Nick Deviers maturity this year. He wants to race with the best and puts himself in position to do that, Sowards said. The ability has been there for a while.
Sophomore Taylor Guske also turned in a top-10 performance, crossing the finish line in 16:49, while senior Terrence Ordonez had a personal best for the teams third finish. Ordonez took 22nd overall in 17:10.
He was passing I dont know how many other people. He must have passed about 10 guys in the last 100 meters and felt really confident about his race, Sowards said.
The trio helped lead Lakewood to a third-place team finish out of 27 teams.
The JV boys also had a good day, taking third place to Sehome and Bothell like their varsity teammates.
The varsity girls took 10th place. They kept close together, with one and two runners Sarah Dunn and Lacey Nation finishing five seconds apart. Dunn edged Nation with a 20:39 time. Underclassmen Amber Burnell and Chelsea Stokes used the same technique to finish fourth and fifth for the team in 21:40 and 21:41.
I think our varsity girls got closer to their end of the season goal. I think they showed some real improvement. They ran closer together as a pack, Sowards said.
Sowards added that he enjoys putting on the meet for the kind of sportsmanship he sees from all the teams that participate.
It was a sentiment echoed by Arlington coach Mike Shierk, whose team has attended the Hole in the Wall for several years now.
The Hole in the Wall is an extremely fun race with the atmosphere. Its so positive, from the head coaches Murray and Sowards, have it trickling all the way down with their workers. So we love it in itself, but it helps our younger kids to get a view of the course before they run in the divisionals. We love that, Shierk said. But if it wasnt there, wed still go because its such a nice bunch of coaches and kids.

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