State races excite Panthers for the future

Aiden Pullen brings home a state medal

The Washougal High School cross country teams had their best performances at the state meet in 30 years Saturday, in Pasco.

Aiden Pullen earned a spot on the podium with the 13th place finish and a time of 16 minutes, 27.1 seconds.

“It’s been one of my goals from the beginning of the season to make state and get on the podium at state,” he said. “This medal right here is what I’ll cherish the most. It means a lot to me.”

Gabriel Dinnel grabbed 19th place (16:30.8). Troy Prince-Butterfield (17:13), Tanner Lees (17:42.6), Jackson Keyser (17:45.1), Tanner Coltrane (18:08.9) and Koy Chaston (19:22.7) also helped Washougal finish in eighth place. According to head coach Terry Howard, this is the best finish for the boys team since Washougal took ninth place at state in 1986 and fifth place in 1983.

Pullen has high hopes for the underclassmen in the future. The senior was the only one on the team to get to state before Saturday. Now, they have all had a taste.

“At some of the meets we have been to, our sophomores alone could have taken first,” Pullen said. “When these guys are seniors, they’re going to be unstoppable.”

Sophomore Amelia Pullen joined her brother, Aiden, with a breakout performance of her own. She finished in 20th place with a personal best time of 19:45.4.

“Hopefully, I’ll keep getting PRs on this course. It’s a really pretty course, and I like it,” she said. “It’s the first time in a long time both Washougal teams made it to state. It’s a really cool experience.”

The Washougal girls finished in 10th place at state. Hannah Swigert (20:16.8) shaved 20 seconds off her season best time. Brooklyn Bausch (21:46.9) and Annabelle Palmer (21:49.6) were just a few seconds off personal bests. Bekah Shilling (21:51.9), Morgan Stinchfield (21:58.9) and Kaylee Timmons (23:21.4) earned personal best times.