Sharing the run of a lifetime

Panther runners hold their own at state

Courtney Owens, Hannah Lintala, Karina Miller, Meredith Collins, Lydia Lyall, Mackenzie Kitchen and Abby Lees accomplished their goal Saturday.

The seven Washougal Panthers crossed the finish line at the state championship meet, in Pasco.

“It’s the perfect end to the season,” Lintala said. “Cross country is family. These girls are my sisters.”

Owens was the top finisher in the race from the 2A Greater St. Helens League. The sophomore earned 23rd place with a time of 19 minutes, 41 seconds. Coach Terry Howard said Owens is “catching the vision” of what it takes to become one of the top runners in the state. Owens agreed that she could build on this experience. Saturday was all about the team.

“All I can think about is how hard we worked to get here,” Owens said. “It made me really proud, but sad too, because Karina and Mackenzie are graduating. Karina was pretty much a rock for the team.”

Lintala posted a 16-second personal best, when she crossed the finish line in 20:46. Miller also left it all on the course for the last time. She finished with a season-best time of 21:31.

“Everyone who comes here is the best in the state,” Miller said. “It’s cool to have our small town here.”

Collins came back from an illness to run her lowest time of the season at state (22:31). Lyall (23:39), Kitchen (26:10) and Lees (27:52) made great strides in their first state championship race.

Aiden Pullen and Bailey Duncan held their own for Washougal in the state boys cross country race. Pullen earned 58th place in 17:03. Duncan crossed the finish line 30 seconds after.