OLYMPIA — Blanketed by a fierce rain storm that turned the course into a muddy quagmire later in the day, Twin Harbor cross country runners braved the elements on Saturday.
At the District IV 2A-1A-B cross country meet at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, three Grays Harbor runners claimed individual district titles and four teams punched their tickets to next week’s state meets in Pasco.
Aberdeen’s Poli Baltazar, running in the final and muddiest race of the day, shattered the course record by 28 seconds to win the boys’ 2A individual title.
Montesano’s Gabrielle Rudolph and Tyson Lovell swept the 1A individual race titles, while Elma and Hoquiam’s girls and Montesano’s boys earned 1A state berths.
Ocosta’s girls were the only B team to qualify for a state berth.
Last year, Aberdeen’s boys were poised to take the state meet by storm. This year, Baltazar will do it with one teammate on a great day for the senior and a tough day overall for the Bobcats.
Baltazar, who finished second overall at the state 2A meet last year, made a statement on Saturday by conquering the muddiest course of the day with a course-record run at 15:30. The course was slippery, filled with mud holes that swallowed ankles and shoes, and tough to navigate by the time the boys’ 2A race began.
It didn’t matter to Baltazar, who went out fast and was never threatened by the field.
Frank Book finished sixth to qualify for the state meet for the Bobcats, who missed the third and final state team berth by eight points.
“Our guys raced well,” AHS head coach Sherrie Green said. “Poli has his sights very high and he has a great chance. He ran it beautifully and is top racing form right now. We’re proud of the team. They gave it a great effort. It just didn’t happen today.”
Neither of the two Aberdeen girls qualified for the state meet in the 2A girls race.
Montesano swept the individual titles and the duo of Lovell and Rudolph will be joined by three Harbor teams and several other runners.
Rudolph was never challenged, sprinting away from the field just 800 meters into the race and won the race by 58 seconds. She’ll be joined by teammate Andrea Oswald at the state meet.
Elma’s girls didn’t land any runners in the top five, but registered key runs in the pack top finish fourth overall. Daphne Peek led the Eagles with a seventh-place finish. Hoquiam’s girls got a big push at the top with Alaina Butler in eighth place and outlasted the rest of the field for the fifth and final state team berth.
“This was our first team qualification since 2005 and the girls are really happy,” Elma head coach Dave Beeler said. “It is always nice to take a team to state. It makes it more fun.”
Beeler cited Mikayla Beeler for a two-minute PR that helped clinch the state berth.
Lovell stayed behind White Salmon’s Brad Rich for most of the race. Then, with less than 1,000 meters left, Lovell was in position to pass and made it with 600 meters left for the win.
The Bulldogs parlayed Lovell’s win and Christian Hamblin’s fifth-place finish to just edge out Toledo for third place and a state berth in the team standings.
“(Lovell and Rudolph) each ran great races,” Montesano head coach James Edwards said. “Gabby thought she was a marked runner and ran a great race. Tyson just kept closing in on Rich for most of the race before making his move. I’m happy for the kids. We’re the only (boys) team out of our league that made it to state.”
Elma got two individual runners qualified for state — freshmen Wesley Allen in fourth and Dylan Bennett in ninth.
Ocosta’s girls didn’t land any runners in the top five, but received a big push in the field to get past Morton-White Pass and Mossyrock to finish second overall and qualify for state.
Kiana Ballo led the Wildcats with a seventh-place finish, with freshman Kelsey Gundersen cited by Ocosta head coach Aaron Anderson for her PR and her final push in the last 300 meters.
“Kelsey came up with a huge PR and beat our No. 2 runner; she had a strong finish and passed three girls to get 11th,” Anderson said. “Two of the girls she passed were from Morton-White Pass. I’m excited about our girls team. Our entire team comes back next year and had three in the top 13. We knew if we ran well, we’d make it.”
Only two boys qualified individually for state, including Raymond’s Raymond Glover, who surprised his coach with his 19th-place finish. Ocosta’s Luke Anderson finished 15th to make it to state.
“I didn’t expect him to finish that high,” Willapa Harbor head coach Brad Donovan said. “He took 1 1/2 minutes off his PR. That is amazing. That’s just over the top. He’s pretty excited and so am I.”
District IV results
Team: Tumwater 81, Mark Morris 93, Capital 95. 4. Aberdeen 103.
Top-Five Overall — 1. Poli Baltazar (Abe) 15:30-x. 2. Sean Eustis (Wash) 16:08. 3. Issac Stensfield (Wash) 16:11. 4. Dallas Snider (Che) 16:13. 5. Dan Monk (Cap) 16:20.
Grays Harbor State Qualifiers — 6. Frank Book (Abe) 16:27.
Team: Capital 27, Washougal 87, Mark Morris 98.
Overall Champion — Melissa Starr (MM) 19:36.
Grays Harbor State Qualifiers — None.
Team: LaCenter 60, Kalama 82, White Salmon 91, Elma 93, Hoquiam 120.
Top-Five Overall — 1. Gabrielle Rudolph (Monte) 19:12. 2. Valerie Vogt (WS) 20:10. 3. Katelynn Horn (Kala) 20:20. 4. Katie Whitten (LC) 20:30. 5. Kenna Fosnacht (Roch) 20:36.
Grays Harbor State Qualifiers — 6.Andrea Oswald (Monte) 20:46. 7. Daphne Peek (E) 20:52. 8. Elaina Butler (H) 20:57. 13. Reyna Sanchez (H) 21:34. 24. Luna Zang (E) 22:17.
Elma — 26. Tahni McGaughy, 22:29. 35. Brianna Lusby, 23:29. 36. Mikayla Beller (E) 23:37.
Hoquiam — 33. Cora Foss, 23:05. 37. Alexis Franklin, 23:44. 64. Piper Sandstrom, 26:43.
Team: LaCenter 69, White Salmon 82, Montesano 112, Toledo 113, Woodland 177. 6. Elma. 14. Hoquiam.
Top-Five Overall — 1. Tyson Lovell (Monte) 16:26. 2. Brad Rich (WS) 16:30. 3. Mikhail Hopf (Tol) 17:02. 4. Wesley Allen (E) 17:08. 5. Christian Hamlin (Monte) 17:09.
Grays Harbor State Qualifiers — 9. Dylan Bennett (E) 17:33.
Montesano — 28. Gabe Spearin, 18:21. 29. Brandon Lovell, 18:27. 49. Dakota Jefferson, 19:11.
Team: Northwest Christian 31, Ocosta 75, Morton-White Pass 78. 6. Willapa Valley.
Top-Five Overall — 1. Hailey Bredeson (NWC) 19:50. 2. Alicia Herrera (Mossy) 20:00. 3. Bernadette Hayden (Ony) 20:21. 4. Anna Brooks (NWC) 20:29. 5. Megan Tiegen (NWC) 20:49.
Ocosta — 7. Kiana Ballo, 21:08. 11. Kelsey Gundersen, 21:19. 13. Sararose Gallo, 21:22. 27. Chelsea Griffin, 23:12. 30. Rebecca Lundholm, 23:34.
Team: Northwest Christian 39, Onalaska 50, Mossyrock 52, Three Rivers Christian 114.
Overall Champion — Stephen Bottoms (Ony) 15:58.
Twin Harbors State Qualifiers — 15. Luke Anderson (Oco) 18:33. 19. Raymond Glover (Ray) 18:51.