by John R. McNeil II
The Raider girls’ cross country team competed at the state tournament last Saturday in Pasco for the first time since 2005.
All five girls ran hard and finished with good times for each individual.
When the judges at the WIAA Dairy Farmers Of Washington Les Schwab Tires 2012 Cross Country State Championships tallied up the points, the Raider girls had achieved something every high school athlete desires: placing at the state competition.
With the score of 195 points, the Raiders placed eighth, behind Oroville, whose Sierra Speiker took the individual state championship in 18 minutes, 58.4 seconds.
Saturday was the first time the Raider girls have placed as a team since 2004.
“Around mid-season, the girls started to believe that state was possible,” Head Coach Gary Darnold said, “and by the time the district race came around they believed they could beat Oroville for the District Championship.”
Leading the way for the Raiders was the duo of Alexia Hanway and Mary Ann Matheson. Both have had a breakout season, improving their times by leaps and bounds while being competitive week in and out.
Hanway finished 41st with the time of 23:31. Matheson came in on her heels at 23:31.5 for 42nd.
Keya Fasthorse came in 55th with a race distance personal record time of 26:14.4.
For two seniors, this was the way to finish a high school career — with a state placing. Seniors Charli Knight and Clare Castrodale each have cut down their times considerably from the start of the season — Knight by four minutes; Castrodale trimmed off three-and-a-half minutes. Their push to finish and improve showed great determination and drive in both to succeed.
On Saturday Knight finished 61st at 29:37.7 and Castrodale came in at 30:26.6 for 62nd.