Allison Keenan has been running strongly for three seasons as those around her suffered an assortment of injuries or maladies that derailed Lewis and Clark’s expectations of contending for a Greater Spokane League girls cross country championship.
But those around her ran strongly on a chilly Wednesday afternoon at Finch Arboretum, which sends the undefeated Tigers into a showdown next week against Central Valley (6-0) at CV.
“It’s so exciting,” said Keenan, a state placer the past two years. “We have such a strong team.”
There is an even bigger boys showdown Wednesday with three undefeated 3A teams, defending state champion North Central (6-0), runner-up University (6-0) and Mt. Spokane (6-0), meeting to decide the league title and the two berths to the regional Oct. 29. (All 4A teams go to the regional at Wandemere Golf Course.)
LC (6-0) ran past Gonzaga Prep (4-4) and injury-ravaged preseason favorite Shadle Park (4-2). Katie Morris, who set a Highlanders record in the 800 last spring, arrived at the meet on crutches, her season ended by a stress fracture in her right foot.
Keenan said the senior leaders, which includes Callie VanderWilde, who was a soccer player her freshman year, and Hannah Allen, who was injured the past two seasons, got together in coach Mark Vandine’s classroom the last week of school in the spring and set three goals: Be on the podium at state as a team, stay injury free and have the JV win all-city.
The other two seniors, sophomore Gracie Ledwith and freshman Dannie Baird cruised across the finish line before Keenan, though all, as well as second-place finisher Cyra Carlson of G-Prep, were well behind Shadle star Kendra Weitz.
“I pulled something in my hip,” Keenan said of an injury that has plagued her most of the season. “I’m not sure of the medical term. I’ve been going to PT (physical therapy) every day, but it’s sticking with me, unfortunately. … Going into this race, I trained really well, felt strong in practice. Today was kind of one of those off days.”
• Running over a new course at Comstock Park, University’s boys, behind first-place Jake Hombel (15:10) defeated Ferris (3-5) on the tiebreaker (fastest sixth runner) while U-Hi (2-4) had four of the top five girls to run away from Ferris (1-7) and Rogers (0-6). … The North Central boys had four of the top five times in an easy win over Central Valley (2-4) at Audubon Park while the CV girls finished 2 through 8 for the win while Katie Knight of NC (2-4) won in 17:15. … Andrew Gardner won in 15:17, but Mt. Spokane used its depth for 23-31 win over host Mead (3-3). Molly Cole of Mt. Spokane (3-3) was first and led the Wildcats to a 26-30 win over Mead (4-2).
• In the GNL, host East Valley (3-1 boys, 4-0 girls) swept Medical Lake (1-4, 0-5), Cheney (3-1, 4-0) was also a double winner at Plante’s Ferry against West Valley (3-2, 2-3), and Deer Park (5-0, 3-2) downed Pullman (1-3, 3-1) and Clarkston (0-5, 0-5) in both the boys and girls races.