Washougal High School juniors Sean Eustis and Isaac Stinchfield are pushing themselves to the top of the pack.
On Saturday, at the Saxon Invitational in Salem, Ore., Eustis broke 16 minutes for the first time in his cross country career. He finished fourth in his first race of the season, with a time of 15 minutes, 59.13 seconds.
“I really wanted to get a sub-16,” Eustis said. “As soon as I heard 15:37, I just took off.”
Stinchfield followed in sixth place, clocking in at 16:05.14.
“I’ve always been a distance behind Sean, but I’ve been training alongside him all along,” Stinchfield said. “It’s really motivational for me to have finally caught up with him.”
“Isaac has been training hard all summer,” Eustis said. “I was definitely feeding off Isaac in that race. I wasn’t feeling it at first.”
Both of those personal bests propelled the Panther boys to eighth place at event, against 17 larger schools.
“It felt good to have two of our guys in the top six,” Eustis said.
“If we can bring those freshmen and underclassmen up from the back, we could do even better as a team,” Stinchfield said.
Geer McGee (18:21), Nicholas Velardi (18:41), Blake Roberts (18:57) and Rusty Shiluk (19:12) also set lifetime bests for the Washougal boys. Kendall Utter, Kayla Lockard and Hannah Wright all finished under 23 minutes for the Panther girls.
Washougal hosts Mark Morris Thursday, on a brand new home trail around the George Schmid Memorial Fields and the Washougal School District Office. Racing starts at 4 p.m.
The Camas cross country teams beat Heritage, Hudson’s Bay and Skyview Sept. 13, at Heritage High School.
Alexa Efraimson (18:17), Megan Napier (19:42), Alissa Pudlitzke (19:47) and Austen Reiter (19:51) finished in the top four of the girls race. Lindsay Wourms grabbed seventh (20:18).
Andrew Kaler (16:35), Tucker Boyd (16:55), Andrew Duffy (17:04), Ryan Grable (17:48), Riley Hein (17:51) and Austin Vaughan (18:15) snatched second- through seventh-place in the boys race.
The Papermakers grabbed all the hardware at the Hudson’s Bay Run-A-Ree Sept. 9, an event that showcased 20 of the best high schools in Southwest Washington.
“It’s the only time all of the teams from this area are together for one meet. It’s an event that has a lot of history and tradition,” said Camas head coach Mike Hickey. “It took about four years to get to a point where we could dominate a meet like this. We had a great summer of training, and it’s exciting to see it all come to fruition in the very first meet.”
The girls varsity race was dominated by two freshmen. Efraimson and Union’s Alexis Fuller both clocked in at 18:44. The judges awarded the victory to Fuller.
“It looked like Alexa had her beat in that final stretch, but I couldn’t tell who crossed the finish line first,” Hickey said. “They matched each other, stride-for-stride, for the whole race. It’s going to be exciting to see these two girls battle it out for the next four years.”
Wourms scored sixth (20:10), Reiter earned seventh (20:16), Napier notched ninth (20:39) and Pudlitzke placed 10th (20:48). The Camas girls posted a low score of 34 points. Union was second with 101 points.
The Papermaker boys beat out Mark Morris for first place by six points. Kaler finished fifth (16:32), Duffy took seventh (17:03), Boyd earned ninth (17:15), Grable grabbed 17th (17:40) and Hein ended up in 22nd (18:04).
The Camas junior varsity boys and girls, and sophomores/freshmen boys teams also won first-place trophies. Derek Hood (18:41) finished first in the JV boys race, and Noah Wachlin (18:45) followed in second. Kimi Knight (15:10), Nicole Shepard (15:17) and Ashley Meyer (15:33) went 1-2-3 in the JV girls race. Jackson Cutler (12:58) grabbed first in the 9-10 boys race.
Varsity runs 5,000 meters and the rest go 3,500 meters.