The cross country race at Audubon Park figured to be fast considering the caliber of the runners involved.
The runners didn’t disappoint, even if one of a trio who could be a top-three finisher at state was on the sidelines in the showdown among teams with the best records in the Greater Spokane League.
Mt. Spokane’s John Dressel and North Central’s Tanner Anderson ran the second- and third-fastest races on NC’s home course, behind the record of 14 minutes, 44 seconds set by NC’s Kai Wilmot a year ago.
Wilmot was sidelined with an injury in this one, but NC had the depth to eke out a 26-31 victory and complete a 9-0 GSL season. The Wildcats finished 8-1.
Dressel (14:47) edged Anderson (14:50) and the Wildcats had three of the top five finishers. But NC put its fourth-through-sixth runners ahead of Mt. Spokane’s fourth, including sophomore Mica Jones, who wouldn’t have been in the lineup had Wilmot run.
“That was kind of a key,” NC coach Jon Knight said, “because they beat us up front.”
The Indians had but one senior in the race while maintaining their stranglehold on the league. Pivotal to the outcome was sophomore Justin Janke, who finished third in 15:38 ahead of two Wildcats.
It was the race at the front that provided intrigue, even without Wilmot.
“Tanner and John Dressel, they duked it out,” Knight said.
The two juniors took turns throwing surges before Dressel got away for the 3-second victory.
“The goal was to go fast at the gun,” Mt. Spokane coach Alex Dressel said of his son. “We were hoping for a fast pace from the start when you have a kid like Tanner Anderson in there, who’s a competitor. They’re good friends, too. There’s a lot of camaraderie there.”
And there are more head-to-head matchups to come before the season ends.
University’s boys, who entered the day with a 5-1 record, bunched four runners separated by 8 seconds, but too far back, losing 19-37 to NC and 25-30 to Mt. Spokane.
In the girls race, North Central posted a 26-29 upset over the Wildcats, whose only previous loss had been in a tiebreaker with GSL champion Central Valley. The Wildcats’ No. 1 runner, Micaela Kostecka, took a tumble during the race and wound up third behind NC’s Kristen Wanke and Reanna Risinger.
The Indians’ three wins over Mt. Spokane, University and Mead, left them with a 5-4 season mark.
Elsewhere in GSL races, Central Valley’s boys and girls earned dual-meet sweeps over Ferris, Shadle Park and Rogers at CV. Shadle’s Nicholas Hauger won the boys race in 15:59, while Shadle’s Lauren Dunnell clocked in at 19:37 to top the girls. … At Manito Park, Gonzaga Prep’s boys and girls defeated host Lewis and Clark in a dual meet. LC’s Gracie Ledwith finished first among girls in 20:03, nearly a minute ahead of the rest of the field. G-Prep’s Ian Andres won the boys race in 16:58.