Courtney Owens traversed the sand, gravel, dirt and grass at Capt. William Clark Park in record time Wednesday.
The Washougal High School sophomore crossed the finish line in first place with a time of 21 minutes, 19 seconds.
“It’s a lot harder than normal because your feet are always slipping, but it’s a good challenge,” Owens said. “Once I got off the beach, I said ‘you got this.’ I felt pretty good coming around to the finish.”
Hannah Lintala followed closely behind in third place for the Panthers (21:48). Karina Miller (22:56) and Meredith Collins (24:53) followed in eighth and ninth place.
“My favorite part of the day was running by the water. I saw the sun and the landscape, and it was just awesome,” Lintala said. “I felt calm, and it made me want to beat those girls.”
Miller wanted to put forth a solid performance on her final race at home. Once she hit the beach, she knew she was almost finished.
“I would come here all the time as a kid when my mom was the coach,” Miller said. “I couldn’t wait until I actually got to experience this. It’s more fun to run it.”
The Washougal girls cross country team defeated Hockinson 20-38 and Woodland in the double dual meet. Woodland did not have enough runners to fill a team.
Bailey Duncan had a breakout performance for the Washougal boys. He was the first one to cross the finish line with a time of 17:34.
“It definitely felt good to have a good race for once,” Duncan said. “The fact that there was one more guy in front of me, I wanted to pass him and keep the lead.”
Duncan caught up to the leader during the last half mile and did not let him go.
“When we win our home meet, it shows how much of a team we really are,” Duncan said. “There was encouragement all around. Not just from one person, but all of our teammates sticking around after they raced to cheer us on. It definitely makes a big difference.”
The Washougal boys beat Hockinson 22-33 and Woodland 24-34. Aiden Pullen finished in fifth place (18:28) and Nicholas Velardi followed in sixth place (18:28.75). Luke Belzer earned eighth place (18:38) and Collin Manning claimed 10th place (18:52).