The Washougal High School cross country runners were grinning with excitement Thursday, on the bus ride home from Lake Sacajawea Park.
Despite being outnumbered 16 to 12 at the starting line on the opposing team’s course, four Panther boys crossed the finish line before the first Lumberjack to help the Washougal boys beat R.A. Long.
Sean Eustis won the 5,000-meter race, with a time of 17 minutes, 59 seconds. Isaac Stinchfield snatched second place, in 18 minutes flat. As Washougal’s Geer McGee and Noah Collins reeled in the top runner from R.A. Long, the rest of the Lumberjacks faded away. McGee took third (18:24) and Collins clinched fourth (18:26). Nicholas Velardi notched sixth (19:01) and Darian Tierney followed in seventh (19:07).
In the girls race, seniors Kendall Utter and Brooke Croeni returned from injuries to help the Panthers beat the Lumberjills.
Freshman Karina Miller rose to the occasion again, winning the race with a personal best time of 22:25.
“Her bus ride home was accentuated by her gleaming smile, reaching from ear to ear, while sharing a large bag of potato chips with her female comrades,” said Washougal head coach Terry Howard.
Kayla Lockard cruised to second place, with a record time of 22:32. Utter was hot on her heels in third (22:43), Hannah Wright finished fifth (23:07) and Kalli Light took sixth (23:08).
The Washougal runners are competing in the Puma Invitational Saturday, at Concordia University.
If the Camas cross country teams want to go undefeated in league, they will have to defend Round Lake against longtime nemesis Columbia River today. Races begin at 4 p.m.
The Camas boys and girls are coming off a clean sweep of Kelso and Mountain View Oct. 4, at Round Lake.
Andrew Kaler earned first in the boys race for Camas, followed by Tucker Boyd (16:50) and Andrew Duffy (17:18).
Austen Reiter and Lindsay Wourms were only a second apart in the girls race. Reiter won with a time of 20:38, and Wourms was second in 20:39. Camille Parsons placed third in 20:52.