Lewis and Clark senior Wil Smith, the fourth-place finisher at state last season, paced the first division of boys runners with a time of 15 minutes, 46 seconds at the 13th annual Tracy Walters Invitational at Audubon Park on Saturday.
It was the fastest finish since 2014, when North Central’s Tanner Anderson finished in 14:55.
Smith’s Tigers finished fourth with 94 points in the first division.
NC placed second in Division I with 84 points, six points off champion Bozeman.
Host NC decided to expand the field this year. The invitational almost doubled in size, adding a second division of boys teams to account for the added interest in the race.
“Had some growing pains, but we’ll iron that out,” NC head coach Jon Knight said.
Central Valley boys lost 20 runners from a State 4A runner-up finish last season that set the team back in the early stage of the 2019 season.
But as the team has improved over the last month, it was able to put together an impressive performance.
Placing second in the boys Division II race with 39 points – three off first-place Rocky Mountain – the Bears were the best-scoring team from the Greater Spokane League.
“Really happy, actually. It is kind of fun to be in a big race with all of these great teams,” CV head coach Geoff Arte said. “It was a good chance for our young team to get mixed in with all of those fast schools.”
LC girls take third
LC’s girls ran in Missoula two weeks ago with not much information on the teams they would face. This time around, the Tigers were more prepared for their matchups, including those from Montana.
“We are moving in the right direction,” Tigers head coach Kevin Swaim said. “Two weeks ago in Missoula, it kind of felt like we were distracted by a really big field. Today, we were a little more focused on who we wanted to compete against. Those two Montana teams are really tough.”
The Tigers placed third with 65 points as Bozeman (21) and Hellgate (64) finished above them.
“Today was a big progress report and I would say to take today’s result and use it as a midterm exam, we are in a good place,” Swaim said.
Ila Davis finished eighth for LC in 19:32.8, tops among GSL runners.
This was the first race for the GSL teams in more than two weeks because of a snowstorm that moved through the area earlier this week.