The GSL boys’ big-school domination ended last year after 22 straight team titles. Instead, the GSL “only” got the top two individuals, Lewis and Clark’s Kenji Bierig and Mead’s Andrew Gardner, to go with the LC Tigers’ second-place trophy. Ferris placed fourth. North Central, however, gave the GSL a title with its fifth straight 3A championship in a race won by Shadle Park’s Nathan Weitz, surprising the Indians’ Vince Hamilton. Gardner and Weitz are among the outstanding runners returning. … The Shadle Park girls were second, and NC’s Katie Knight and Shadle’s Kendra Weitz were second and third, respectively, highlighting the returning runners.
There are a number of all-league runners returning. Boys include Gardner and Weitz on the first team, along with Hunter Johnson of Mt. Spokane and Alex Kimsey of Ferris. The second team has Sumner Goodwin and Joe Estelle of LC, Jake Hombel of University and Austen Frostad of NC. … First-team girls returning are Knight and Weitz, along with Shadle’s Katie Morris, LC’s Alison Keenan, who was ninth at state, and Calli VanderWilde, Brooklin Young of Mt. Spokane and Taylor Cherry of G-Prep. From the second team are Jamie Lambie and Alexandria Moore of Central Valley, Danielle Maldonado of Mead, Emily Stone of Shadle, Michaela Roske of NC and Molly Cole of Mt. Spokane. … Alex Dressel takes over for longtime Mt. Spokane boys coach Craig Dietz and Brooks Cooper is now the Rogers boys coach.
Don’t miss the Tracy Walters Invite at Audubon Park on Sept. 10, which is the same day as the Meadlander, the old Highlander, moved to Mead for a second year because of construction at Shadle. The Walters meet has nationally ranked teams and individuals too numerous to mention. … Two big local meets: SV Runner’s Soul Classic at Plantes Ferry Park on Sept. 24 and the Bullpup Invite at Finch Arboretum on Oct. 8. …The 4A/3A regional is scheduled for Oct. 29 at either Wandermere or Mead but could get moved to Friday. That’s the same weekend as state in Idaho. In Washington, runners gather in Pasco on Nov. 5. … Another top meet is Sept. 17 at Farragut State Park, hosted by Coeur d’Alene.
For what it’s worth, NC’s boys are ranked 14th in the nation, which would seem to be enough to make them favorites in the league. The Indians return four state veterans: Keith Williams (12th), Austen Frostad (17th), Kai Wilmot (38th) and Nike Taylor (53th). Ferris should be the biggest challenger, led by Kimsey, who was fifth at state. Mead’s Gardner only lost to one GSL runner all year, which was LC’s Bierig at state. … Shadle’s girls have the best 1-2 punch back in Weitz and Morris, fifth and sixth, respectively, at state and teammate Stone cracked the top 30. CV contends with quantity more than quality. LC, led by Keenan (ninth) could be in the hunt. The best runner is NC’s Knight, who ran 17:38 last fall, 3 seconds shy of matching the fastest 5K by a Spokane high school girl.
Around the area
In 2A, the Cheney girls finished second in state last year and return three top-25 runners, including third-place finisher Sanne Holland, a junior who won a track title in the spring. Deer Park, led by Dayde Collins, seventh at state, is favored in the Great Northern League’s boys race. … Riverside girls return three top-12 finishers ( Jess Mildes third, Delaney McMahon ninth, Susan Burchett 12th) from last year’s 1A title team while Lakeside has two top-25 runners back ( Megan Ahrendt seventh, Vanessa Ahrendt 24th) from the fourth-place team. Lakeside’s senior-dominated team won the boys title ahead of Colville, and they should battle it out for the Northeast A crown. Lakeside is led by Ryan Coffman, 21st at state, the Indians by Biagio Pietroburgo, 17th. … The Republic boys, second in state last year, lead the usually strong area B boys teams, with Davenport, St. George’s and Northwest Christian all taking aim at the Tigers. Maxwell Choka of St. George’s finished second, but Davenport had two in the top 10 – Ryan Zellar, fifth, and Austin Telford, eighth. Liberty’s Cody Erickson was ninth. The NWC girls were third last year, but Colfax’s Morgan Willson was the top finisher in the B girls at second, just ahead of NWC’s Anna Henry. …In North Idaho, the Coeur d’Alene boys have hopes of winning a state title while Timberlake girls are likely favorites for the 3A girls title, led by Ashley George.
|Predicted boys finish||4. University||8. Gonzaga Prep|
|1. North Central||5. Lewis and Clark||9. Shadle Park|
|2. Ferris||6. Mt. Spokane||10. Rogers|
|3. Mead||7. Central Valley|
|Predicted girls finish||4. Mt. Spokane||8. University|
|1. Shadle Park||5. Mead||9. Ferris|
|2. Central Valley||6. Gonzaga Prep||10. Rogers|
|3. Lewis and Clark||7. North Central|