The junior took over the lead in the second mile and led King's to a second-place finish in the team race.
PASCO — Naomi Smith of King’s decided to try a different strategy this year at the Class 1A state cross-country meet at Sun Willows Golf Course.
“I wanted to get out near the front this year,” Smith, a junior, said. “The plan was not to get too far behind. Last year, I tried to wait to make a move, and it didn’t work.”
She finished seventh as a sophomore in 2017.
“This year I was thinking ‘I should get up there,’ ” Smith said.
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Smith stayed up there too, slowly pulling away to win the race in 18 minutes, 16.70 seconds. She trailed Colville’s Alaina Stone by a split second after the first mile.
By the second mile, Smith had a good four-second lead over Stone, and she never looked back. Well, that’s a lie.
“I know I shouldn’t do that, but I kept looking back where everyone was,” Smith admitted. “All of the time. When I turned corners, I’d look back.”
No one could catch her. And she knew them all.
“I love racing them,” she said. “I’ve run against Andrea (Markezich, fifth) and Olivia (Merkezich of Bear Creek, third) for a while. (Northwest’s) Macenna Hansen (ninth), and I have been competing with each other for a long time.”
Colville’s Stone finished second.
Smith couldn’t get King’s, which was ranked first in the state coaches poll heading into the meet, a team title. Lakeside of Nine Miles Falls near Spokane won the team title with 108 points, while King’s was second with 114.
Bellarmine Prep freshman Ella Borsheim kicked it into overdrive after the 2-mile mark and ran away with the title, beating runner-up Julia David-Smith of Issaquah and third-place finisher Lake Stevens senior Taylor Roe.
The trio stayed within .3 seconds through the first 2 miles, but Borsheim made a move after the 2-mile mark. So did David-Smith.
“Ella and I gapped Taylor at that point,” David-Smith said. “She didn’t come with us.”
Despite the fact she is a freshman, Borsheim said she wasn’t intimidated by the field.
“This is my first state meet,” Borsheim said. “But I’ve had some cross-country experience with some clubs. I admit I was a little nervous. But the goal was to go after the win.”
David-Smith had mixed feelings about her second-place finish and her time of 18:01.70.
“I’m not happy about it, but I’m not disappointed either,” she said. “It’s better than last year, when I finished 50th as a freshman. I just need to fix a few things. I’m only a sophomore, so I’ve got some time.”
Roe won the Class 4A title as a freshman and sophomore, and was second last year.
Kamiak’s Emma Arceo (seventh) and Alicia Anderson (ninth) were among the top-10 placers.
Glacier Peak took the team title easily with 77 points.
Spokane’s North Central dominated the race, with sophomore Allie Janke winning in 17:59.10. Her teammate, Erinn Hill (who won the state title last year), placed third. Kennewick’s Geraldin Correa was sandwiched in between the two Spokane runners for second.
North Central also won the team title for the second consecutive year, easily outdistancing the field with 21 points.
“It was a good day for the team,” Hill said. “We did what we wanted.”
The Seattle area had a few runners finish in the top 10: Garfield’s Isabel Schmidt placed fourth (18:44.40), Shorecrest’s Lillian Visser was sixth (18:47.10) and Ingraham’s Anya Hirschfield finished seventh (18:47.50).
Washougal senior Amelia Pullen out kicked Bellingham’s Annika Reiss in the second mile to take the individual crown.
Pullen crossed the finish line in 18:04.50, while Reiss clocked in at 18:29.40.
It was the third time in her career that Reiss had finished second at state. Reiss’ team finished second as well.
Bellingham tied West Valley of Spokane with 118 points, but the Eagles took the title based on the sixth-runner tiebreaker.
Liberty Bell’s Novie McCabe defended her individual title with ease, beating her closest competitor by 49 seconds and completing the course in 18:27.40.
The daughter of U.S. Olympic cross-country skier Laura McCabe, the junior says she uses cross-country running to keep in shape for skiing.
“I like the team dynamic in cross country,” Novie McCabe said. “And we have a fun team dynamic.”
Fun enough that Liberty Bell also won the team title with 56 points.