Guske, Lakewood boys named conference champs

Arlington senior Safa Pinkens keeps focused as she turns in a 13th-place finish at the Wesco championships at Lakewood High School. -
Arlington senior Safa Pinkens keeps focused as she turns in a 13th-place finish at the Wesco championships at Lakewood High School.
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The season just keeps getting better for Lakewood’s Taylor Guske.

Following a championship performance in the Cougars’ invitational Hole in the Wall a couple of weeks earlier, the Lakewood junior was named the Cascade Conference champion in the 5k, winning the race over runner-up Archbishop Murphy’s Conner Ballew by almost 25 seconds.

Guske’s effort was matched by his teammates as four Lakewood boys finished in the top 10 and a fifth in 13th place in the league championship race Oct. 25, giving Lakewood the boys championship by a wide margin. According to coach Jeff Sowards, it is the boys team’s fifth consecutive league title and their 20th in 25 years.

Junior Chad Skiles took fourth place overall while sophomore Trent Tresch and senior Nick Devier finished seventh and eighth in the standings. Byron Gouette was the fifth runner for Lakewood, rounding out the five runners whose places added up to the team score.

The girls took second place as a team, with the top five girls once again turning in a very consistent performance.

Senior Lacey Nation took fifth place while two more teammates had top-10 finishes. Sophomores Chelsea Stokes and Tasha Bartoll were about 20 seconds apart, taking eighth and 10th place. While Lakewood’s fourth and fifth runners Rachel Cundy and Chelsea Sowards finished before Cedarcrest’s fifth runner, the Red Wolves’ top four were too effective to keep Lakewood from escaping with the team victory.

In the Western Conference contests, seniors Ryan Lanphere and Sean Gregory had top-10 finishes for their respective schools. Lanphere’s sixth-place finish led the M-P boys, who finished in seventh place out of the ninth Wesco squads. Gregory’s Arlington team placed a narrow eighth behind Marysville.

While neither Arlington nor Marysville placed one of their female runners in the top 10, four Arlington girls finished in the top 25, leading them to a fourth-place team finish.

Safa Pinkens led the girls with a time of 20:17, followed by teammates Bryna Prause, Kristin Wreggelsworth and Katie Anderson.

M-P’s top two runners finished on either side of the Eagle foursome. Tomahawk senior Lauren Ainsworth finished 10 seconds and two places ahead of Pinkens, while sophomore Veronica Hall finished in 26th place, just seconds behind Anderson.

Kyle Kilmer also placed for Arlington, while Zoe Gibson, Tyler Wigington and Jen Rosie’s finishes contributed to the M-P team score.

All three teams send their top seven runners to South Whidbey, Nov. 1, where they’ll compete in districts. At that race, both individuals and teams can qualify to compete in the state cross country meet at Pasco.

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