Washougal junior Thomas Normandeau beat Camas sophomore Taryk Boyd for first place out of a field of more than 500 junior varsity runners from 30 different teams at the Adidas Classic Saturday, at Fern Hill Park in Portland.
“I knew this was going to be a tough race because it had so many people from some pretty big schools,” Normandeau said. “Once I got ahead of the pack, I could see that the other guy was like 50 yards ahead of me, so I just decided to hold on to second.
“But slowly, I started to catch up to him. I just kept my pace going, and I kept getting closer and closer,” Normandeau added. “Once I passed him with about 300 meters to go, I really thought I could beat him. As I tired as I was, I just kept running as fast as I could.”
Normandeau crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 48.7 seconds, and Boyd followed in 16:50.3. This was just the fifth cross country race for Normandeau, who plays soccer for Washougal.
“A lot of heart goes into running,” he said. “I hope to see big results in my endurance by the time soccer season rolls around. Hopefully, I’ll still have tons of energy at the end of a game when the other players are tired.”
The Camas boys and girls teams claimed second place in the junior varsity races. Miranda Hollar (21:39.9) finished fifth for the girls and Ryan Gunter (17:18.2) grabbed 11th for the boys.
Washougal junior Paige Roberts set one of the fastest times in school history during the varsity girls race. She crossed the finish line in 21:25.3. Freshman Meredith Collins was not far behind with a personal best time of 22:01.2.
“All you have to do is be focused and determined. Focus on what you want to get and be determined to accomplish that goal,” Roberts said. “I’m really proud of myself and everyone on my team. We can’t just focus on our individual goals, we have to keep pushing each other.”
Washougal seniors Sean Eustis and Isaac Stinchfield were no match for Andrew Gardner of Mead in the varsity elite race. Gardner crossed the finish line first in 14:45.5. Eustis earned 15th place in 15:43.9 and Stinchfield snagged 19th place in 15:50.1. Nicolas Velardi set a new personal best time of 18:04.06.
The postseason begins for the Panthers and Papermakers Thursday. Camas races for district titles at Lewisville Park in Battle Ground. Washougal races for league titles at Hockinson Meadows.