WESTPORT — In the face of the Northwest Christian-Lacey juggernaut, the Pacific 2B League cross country meet at Ocosta High School was a test to get ready for the big meets over the last two weeks of the season.
The Navigators easily won the league team titles in the boys and girls varsity meets, with a NWC runner leading the pack to the finish line each time. Ocosta’s three-runner girls team, along with runners from Willapa Valley and Ilwaco, cracked the girls field, while NWC scored seven out of the first eight places in the boys meet.
“You kind of have to do your own thing when you run (against NWC), focus on ourselves and run the best race you can,” Ocosta head coach Aaron Anderson said of the boys meet. The same could be said of the girls meet as well.
The girls race was Ocosta’s time to shine on a cold, windy afternoon. NWC took the first five spots early, while Kathryn Anderson and McKenzie Ballo stayed close behind. The Navigators’ Megan McSheffrey led from start to finish.
Anderson and Ballo used their home-course knowledge to pluck NWC runners at the right spots. Anderson took over fourth overall midway through the race, while Ballo worked her way behind Anderson with just over a mile left to run. This is where the duo would stay as McSheffrey took the win and the NWC pairing of Ellie Summers and Elizabeth Stottlemeier were second and third.
“All of the girls PR’d for the course; we will have another week to push them and get them ready,” coach Anderson said. “They all looked good today.”
Willapa Valley’s Traci Hoffman was smooth throughout the race, staying with a pack of Ilwaco and NWC runners before moving away to take 10th overall. Her finish was a source of happiness for Willapa Harbor head coach Brad Donovan.
“She’s been struggling all year; her times have been consistently slower than last year,” Donovan said. “However, you can tell over the last week or two her times have come together. This was a big moment for her today to get into the top 10. That’ll be big for her. Everything is on the line next Saturday.”
Ocosta’s third and final runner, Jasmin Velasco, took 16th overall, giving the Wildcats a chance to move all three from next week’s district meet to the state race. Willapa Valley’s Amber Anderson finished 18th overall and North Beach’s Kaytlynn Corey was 22nd to lead the Hyaks.
The boys race was a showcase for NWC’s Luke Schilter, who was unchallenged by the gaggle of teammates trailing behind him. At one point, Schilter held a 50-second lead over the field before he sprinted to the finish at 14:59 — a 49-second victory over teammate Corban Phillips.
The first six runners to the finish line were from the Navigators, while Chief Leschi’s Maartin Cornyn broke the string in seventh place overall.
Within the pack, Willapa Valley’s Ryon Ashley was the top Twin Harbors runner, taking 12th overall. Ocosta’s Alex Bailey was 14th, while senior Sam Quinby was 16th, Raymond’s Jachin Heckman in 17th and North Beach’s Miguel Eastman in 20th.
Donovan cited his entire Willapa Harbor squad for their performances, especially Ashley and Heckman. “They’ve been battling all year, but both of them will have to go a little bit faster to get to state next week,” he added.
Before the meet, seniors Anderson, Ballo, Sam Quinby, Drake Mitby and Dustyn Taylor were honored in Senior Day ceremonies.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, all of the Pacific League teams will travel to Onalaska High School for the District IV 2B/1B meet.
Northwest Christian-Lacey 15, Ilwaco 50, Willapa Valley 87, Naselle 92.
Meet Winner: Megan McSheffrey (NWC) 18:19.
Top-25 Twin Harbors Runners: 4. Kathryn Anderson (Oco). 5. McKenzie Ballo (Oco). 10. Traci Hoffman (WV). 16. Jasmin Velasco (Oco). 18. Amber Anderson (WV). 22. Kaytlynn Corey (NB). 25. Georgia Clark (NR).
Northwest Christian-Lacey 15, Ilwaco 58, Ocosta 81, Life Christian Academy 121, Raymond 124.
Meet Winner: Luke Schilter (NWC) 14:59.
Top-25 Twin Harbors Runners: 12. Ryon Ashley (WV). 14. Alex Bailey (Oco). 16. Sam Quinby (Oco). 17. Jachin Heckman (Ray). 20. Miguel Eastman (NB). 21. Daniel Quinby (Oco). 22. Forrest Carbaugh (NR). 24. Drake Mitby (Oco). 25. Patrick Pearson (WV).