Runners are getting primed for postseason

Road to state begins today

After running in the mud against the wind and the rain, Yacine Guermali and the Camas High School cross country teams are ready for anything.

“The weather has been tough the past couple of weeks, but I think it’s going to help us prepare for the races to come,” Guermali said. “We know what it feels like to race in conditions like that. We’re pretty excited to close out the season strong.”

Guermali captured first place for the Papermakers in a field of 106 runners in the gold division at the George Fox Classic Saturday, at Willamette Mission State Park in Brooks, Oregon. He finished the 5,000-meter race in 15 minutes, 58 seconds.

“It was a lap-based course. There was one part where it was really windy and another part where you had a tailwind,” Guermali said. “We just had to go in there and race smart. Use basic tactics like drafting to make sure we came out with the best possible performance in the wind.”

The Camas boys team finished in third place. Daniel Maton took fourth place (16:25), Jackson Lyne claimed 23rd place (17:03), Nick Duffy notched 38th place (17:34) and David Connell earned 41st place (17:43).

The Camas girls team also rose to third place. Emma Jenkins secured sixth place (18:29), Ellie Postma earned 17th place (19:19), Madison Child clinched 21st place (19:34), Halle Jenkins took 27th place (19:42) and Rachel Blair grabbed 34th place (20:01).

Guermali also grabbed first place at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational Oct. 8, at Lakewood High School, in Lakewood. He set a new course record time of 15:17.3.

“Looking back, it was actually kind of fun just to be in that [rain and mud],” Guermali said. “100 meters in, you already knew you were going to get really dirty.”

The Camas boys took third place as a team. Maton ran a personal best time of 15:58.4 to earn eighth place and Lyne notched 30th place (16:32.8).

The Papermaker girls had one of their best performances of the season and finished in second place. Emma Jenkins earned fifth place (18:01.5). Postma took 20th place (18:40.2) and Halle Jenkins claimed 25th place (18:59.5), both with personal best times.

The 4A district meet is today, at Lewisville Park in Battle Ground. Races start at 3:30 p.m.

“It’s a nice confidence booster to see what it’s like to win a race,” Guermali said. “Even though I won, they weren’t perfect races, so I’ll look back on what I could have done better to race better. I’m sure I speak for the team when I say that, too. We’ll look at what we did right, what we did wrong and we’ll be looking for some really big performances coming up.”

Pullens lead Panthers

Washougal siblings Aiden and Amelia Pullen set the pace for the Panthers at the George Fox Classic Saturday.

Aiden earned fifth place in the boys race with a time of 16:47. Amelia claimed seventh place in the girls race with a personal best time of 19:50.

“I think the course was the muddiest it has ever been,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to get a PR.”

The Panther boys team clinched second place in the silver division. Gabriel Dinnel grabbed eighth place (16:51), Troy Prince-Butterfield took 31st place (17:45), Tanner Lees earned 43rd place (17:56) and Tanner Coltrane claimed 48th place (18:01).

The Washougal girls team settled into sixth place. Hannah Swigert gained 20th place (20:40), Brooklyn Bausch notched 53rd place (21:52), Annabelle Palmer placed 66th (22:21) and Bekah Shilling took 88th (23:03).

“It feels really great having such a good group of girls to run with,” Bausch said. “I’m really proud of all the accomplishments we’ve had this year.”

The 2A Greater St. Helens All-League meet is today, at Lake Sacajawea Park in Longview. The varsity races begin at 5 p.m.

“This is the end. All the races before this where just to prepare us for getting the team to state,” Aiden Pullen said. “It would be great if we are able to say that there’s enough talent in this city to qualify for state as a group.”