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Raider girls champs of District 5-6 cross country in Ellensburg

Now on to state


From left - Claire Castrodale, Mary Ann Matheson, Rickyna Sam, Alexie Hanway, Keya Fasthorse, Amanda Palmer, and Charli Knight. — submitted photo

The Raider Cross Country girls took the championship at the District 5-6 B Tournament in Ellensburg and will compete as a team at the state race this Saturday in Pasco for the first time since 2005.

All the Raider girls ran for personal records, which made it possible for the Raiders to sneak past Oroville by one point for the championship.

Head Coach Gary Darnold was ecstatic at the win.

“To see the looks on their faces when they found out they were champs was what makes coaching so worthwhile,” Darnold said. “The girls put together a total team effort with each giving their best effort and performance. You don’t beat a team by one point to win a district championship with just one girl running well. It took all of them competing at a high level to accomplish this.”

Alexia Hanway and Mary Ann Matheson led the way, finishing fourth and sixth respectively, with their PR times of 22 minutes, 5 seconds and 22:28.

Behind them was Rickyna Sam, who finished ninth with a PR of 23:37. On her heels was Amanda Palmer at 10th with a 90-second PR time of 24:28. Keya Fasthorse came in 10 seconds behind Palmer to take 11th in 24:38, a two-minute PR. Charli Knight came in 14th in 27:39. Clare Castrodale finished at 28:45 for 15th, a 30-second PR.

The Raider boys came in fourth behind Liberty Bell, Manson, and Bickleton. Lukas Hermetz closed out a great freshman season with a 19th place finish in a time of 18:22.

Kendall Piccolo ran his final race in style, finishing 22nd with a career PR of 18:42. Right behind him was Brandon Desautel, who took home 23rd in 18:43, a career PR by 40 seconds.

Oscar Pakootas finished 10 seconds faster than his PR at 19:35 to take 29th. Zach Erickson was again the “Most Improved Raider” as his season-best time of 21:02 was also a two-and-a-half minute improvement from his district time last season.

Darnold could not be prouder of both squads’ effort at the race,”

“Both teams made a huge effort and pushed themselves as hard as they could,” Darnold said. “I was very pleased with the effort on a very, very wet race day.”

The weather was a hinderance last year at the District race for both squads, but not his year as Coach Darnold observed:

“When the races began, they were already soaked and it just kept raining all through the racing — not just a sprinkle, a steady rain,” he said. “They just peeled off their sweats and went to work.”

All seven girls qualified to go on to the State Cross Country Race at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco this Saturday. There will be a send-off at Gailord Nelson Gym for the girls on Friday.

The B girls’ race will begin at 10 a.m. with awards handed out at 12:30 p.m.

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