August 28, 2008 · Updated 12:24 PM
MARYSVILLE As darkness fell over Marysville, hundreds of runners from around western Washington descended upon Cedarcrest Golf Course to compete in the first-ever Tomahawk Twilight Meet.
Nearly 20 cross country teams turned out and enjoyed the hilly, beautiful grounds and the uncommon experience of a night meet. While the sun was still in the sky during the freshman-sophomore race that kicked off the meet, it was almost completely dark as the majority of the varsity girls race the nights final event reached the mile mark of their 5k race.
Stadium lights across the golf course lit the runners path.
It probably exceeded my expectations, especially in year one. To get the weather to pan out like it did, and the lights were a really good feature, said M-P cross country coach Randy Edens, who organized the event. It definitely exceeded what I expected.
Night races are uncommon in the sport, which made the circumstances a first-time experience for many of the students who turned up at the inaugural meet.
Edens added the reaction he got from most coaches and teams was near-unanimous praise.
It was one of the best meets theyd gone to all year nothing but positive things, he said. There were a lot of kids who hadnt run beneath the lights before, so to do that was exciting for them. The setting is just pretty overwhelming. I think that obviously appeals to a lot of different people, parents and coaches included.
A number of M-P girls had great individual races.
Three varsity girls finished in the top 10 and another in the top 20, and Edens said the team planned to use their familiarity with the course to their advantage.
We start on top of the golf course and incorporate for the most part two big downs. I know the leaders in the varsity guys races were under five minutes for the mile, he said, describing the route. Youve got a section in the middle from about a mile and a half to two miles thats pretty flat, and then its flat or downhill to finish.
Senior Haley Nemra finished sixth overall for the girls finishing in 19:20 flat. Sophomore Kaylie Kimmell was two places and about 30 seconds behind. Teammate Lauren Ainsworth came in with a time of 19:57 to finish 10th.
Marissa Schafer was fourth for the team and 19th overall with a 20:31 time.
On the boys side, junior Ryan Lanphere finished 12th. Sophomores Kevin Mangat and Josh Rasmussen came in second and third for the team with times of 17:33 and 17:45 respectively.
I thought Kevin Mangat and Josh Rasmussen hung tough pretty well together, Edens said.