The Washougal cross country team exceeded its own lofty expectations at the 2A state meet, held Saturday, Nov. 5, at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, Washington, placing three runners in the top five of their respective races.
“We were so happy,” said Washougal coach Tracey Stinchfeld. “We worked so hard to actually get there, and then to exceed expectations was phenomenal. When the kids crossed the (finish) line, you could just see it in their faces. They felt so happy knowing their hard work paid off.”
In the boys’ event, junior Samuel Grice finished in second place with a time of 15 minutes, 56.7 seconds, behind only Zack Munson of Sehome (15:37).
“Of course, Sam would have loved to win the race,” Stinchfield said. “But going into it he was hoping to take third because (his times were) pretty far behind (Munson and Jack Gladfelder of Port Angeles). But he was feeling great, and about two miles in and he decided to just go for it, and he really put himself on the line and pushed forward and pushed past (Gladfelter) and started chasing down first place. It was fantastic.”
Grice raced “really smart,” according to Stinchfield.
“He stayed behind the first two guys through the first mile, and then the first two guys kind of spread apart and (Munson) kind of took off,” she said. “Sam knew going into this race that he wanted to surge towards the end, but he had to watch what the other guys were doing. When he saw that (Gladfelter was) falling behind (Munson), he knew it was his chance to step in and take over that second-place spot, and he did it.”
Stinchfield also lauded the performance of freshman Brandon Lee, who completed his first state meet in a time of 18:18.80.
“He just kind of worked his way up the ranks throughout the season, got himself a spot on varsity, and kept improving race after race,” she said. “The faster he got, the faster the rest of my boys would get because they kept saying, ‘I’m not going to let a freshman beat me.’ I kept saying, ‘All right, Brandon, get faster and the whole team will get faster,’ and it worked, and that’s how these boys qualified for state. Brandon pushed hard, ran an incredible race at districts, and all the other boys did not want to be behind him, so they all ran unbelievable (personal records).”
Panthers senior Sydnee Boothby and junior Elle Thomas took third and fourth place, respectively, in the girls race, improving on their top-10 finishes from a year ago and leading Washougal to a fourth-place finish in the team standings.
“Seriously, it was just truly a dream come true, especially seeing how happy they were,” Stinchfield said. “There was not even an ounce of disappointment because they both knew that they had really done as well as they could possibly do. Running as a mental game. It’s tough. We’ve had some mental struggles with our team this year, and I feel like going into state they were able to put that behind them and just run, which was fantastic.”
Boothby, who finished in ninth place in the 2021 state meet, finished the race in 18:55.50, behind only Logan Hofstee of East Valley (Spokane) and Jessica Frydenlund of Anacortes.
“Her goal was to just stick right behind Nos. 1 and 2 and watch them battle it out,” Stinchfield said. “She just wanted to stay as close to them as she could, and she did. She just powered through the entire race. She raced exactly how she wanted to (race).”
Thomas, meanwhile, finished in 19:14.60. She placed sixth in the 2021 state meet.
“She was really hoping to be able to stay close to Sydnee,” Stinchfield said. “Taking fourth was her ultimate goal, but we weren’t quite certain if she could do it. She had a plan to go a little bit easier in the first mile; she had been going out too hard and burning out a little bit. She stuck to her plan and went a little easy in that first mile, and then she found herself feeling great and took off and kept with it. She nearly caught Sydnee by the end.”
Washougal freshman Gracie Perry finished in 20:21.90 for 27th place.
“She had the funny advantage of being a freshman (and not having) a lot of expectations, because every race was an opportunity to see what she could do,” Stinchfield said. “She has incredible mental stamina. I never sense that she’s too nervous or too worried. She always lines up and has this game plan to go out and see what she can do, and every race it seemed like she could push a little bit harder than the race before.”
In the 4A girls race, also held Saturday, Nov. 5, at Sun Willows Golf Course, Camas’ Natalie Peddie finished 16th and Gracie Buzzell finished 21st to lead the Papermakers to a fifth-place finish in the team standings.
Football: Washougal headed to state; Camas falls to Bothell
The Washougal football team beat Shelton 38-34 in a Week 10 playoff game on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Fishback Stadium to qualify for the 2A state tournament.
The ninth-seeded Panthers (9-1 overall) will play No. 8 Highline at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, in a first-round state tournament game in Burien, Washington.
Washougal’s defense surrendered more than 500 yards of offense to Shelton, but forced a fumble with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Liam Atkin ran for 168 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers. Washougal quarterback Holden Bea completed 20 of 29 passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns, two to Sam Evers, who registered seven catches for 87 yards.
Camas’ season came to an end on Saturday, Nov. 5, after a 31-14 loss to North Creek (Bothell) in a Week 10 playoff game at Doc Harris Stadium.
The 4A Greater St. Helens League champion Papermakers (6-4 overall) failed to qualify for the 4A state tournament for the first time since 2018.
Camas quarterback Taylor Ioane threw touchdown passes to Konnor Limnell and Holt Williams. Reid Tennant led the Papermakers on the ground with 57 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Girls soccer: Camas rolls into state tournament
The Camas girls soccer won the 4A District 3-4 tournament with a 1-0 victory over Curtis on Thursday, Nov. 3, to earn a No. 2 seed into the 4A state tournament, which kicked off last week.
The Papermakers (16-1-2 overall) played a first-round state tournament game against No. 15 Eastlake on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Doc Harris Stadium. The winner of the contest will take on 10th-seeded Olympia or No. 7 Issaquah on Friday, Nov. 11, or Saturday, Nov. 12, in a quarterfinal match.
Camas, the defending 4A state champions, entered the state tournament on a 14-game winning streak. The Papermakers didn’t allow a single goal in their three bi-district tournament contests.