Unconventional competitions kick off Marysville-Pilchuck cross country calendar

ARLINGTON — The first week of school was an educational opportunity in another way for the Marysville-Pilchuck cross country team.

“We used our time trial and (a Sept. 10 jamboree) as stepping stones for our young runners to figure out what this cross country thing is all about,” said Marysville-Pilchuck cross country coach Randy Edens.

Shorter than in past years when the course looped around both fields and along the river, the jamboree at River Meadows Park in Arlington coursed around one field and through the trees as runners from each school paired with a teammate to run relay. At a rare meeting that required no school uniforms, runners from around the Western Conference donned homemade t-shirts, brightly colored tights and even wigs and makeup.

Although jamborees are unscored, the event provided coaches more insight into the team’s new runners.

“Our No. 1 thing is the training side,” Edens added. “We dress up all funny but we race seriously.”

Likewise, the Sept. 12 Edmonds Invitational shook up the cross country conventions as runners raced similarly slotted competitors from other schools rather than in one big pack. The meet featured five varsity races for boys and five for girls — varsity alternates, Nos. 6 and 7, Nos. 4 and 5, Nos. 2 and 3 and No. 1.

In the 2.2 mile course, the Tomahawk runners tended to run together. In the boys alternates race, Theo DeSanctis, Shawn Sewell an Alan Nielsen all ran within 15 seconds of one another, DeSanctis finishing first of the trio of runners in eighth with a time of 13:25.49. In the girls 4/5 race, Alissa Belan and Jennifer Rosie crossed the finish line together with a time of 16:04.

Fifth place seemed the magic number for Marysville. Three different runners placed fifth in their respective races, with freshman Rachel Lefstad fifth in the varsity No. 1 race in a time of 14:16.71. Senior Stevie Utt was fifth in the boys 2/3 race, coming in less than a second under 12 minutes. Junior Ashlynn Woodward was also fifth in the girls 6/7 race and the girls placed fifth overall out of seven teams.

Senior Josh Rasmussen placed sixth in the varsity No. 1 race in a time of 11:55.35. The boys placed sixth out of eight teams.

“It’s unique that a lot of our stuff is in October,” Edens said at the jamboree. “And I think that’s good for our young runners. We can focus on training.”

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