SPOKANE - Sunnyside High School's three Regional qualifiers, all sophomores, picked up valuable experience competing against the best of the best from the Columbia Basin Big Nine and Greater Spokane conferences this past Saturday.
The three SHS sophomore runners, competing on the 5,000-meter Wandermere Golf Course layout in Spokane, got their first real taste of what it's going to take to earn a 3A State girls cross-country meet berth.
The three underclassmen...Kayla Gonzalez, Betsy Reynoso and Aidee Cisneros...finished 53rd, 54th and 60th, respectively, from the 62-harrier field. To advance on to the State meet, which will be staged this coming Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, Regional competitors had to place in the top 15.
The fastest of the Sunnyside runners last Saturday was Gonzalez. She posted a clocking of 23:11. She would have needed to shave two minutes and 39 seconds off her time to have snuck into the 'Top 15'.
The 3A Regional race winner was North Central High School's Katie Knight. The junior romped to a time of 17:57. That was 22 seconds quicker than the next closest finisher, runner-up Kendra Weitz of Shadle Park, also a junior.
Besides the 23:11 clocking recorded by Gonzalez, Sunnyside got efforts of 23:21 from Reynoso and 24:56 from Cisneros.
"For our three girls, I was just happy they qualified to compete at Regionals," said Sunnyside Coach George Paulus. "Really, it was a feel-good race for them.
"The good thing is they now have the experience of running in a good, strong race. We'll see if that transitions into something for them next season."
Team-wise at Regionals, Sunnyside didn't have enough runners qualify for the postseason competition to earn a score. The top finishing team was Kamiakin with 31 points. Shadle Park was second with 63 points, followed by Mt. Spokane with 64 points. The top three finishing teams all earned spots at the 3A State meet, as did the top 15 individual placers. Besides the Kamiakin girls squad representing the Columbia Basin Big Nine at State, the CBBN will also have competing Southridge senior Rachel Dahl, 6th at Regionals (19:45); and Southridge freshman Emily Kump, 10th at Regionals (20:08).