LAKEWOOD — The Central Kitsap girls and South Kitsap girls both won their respective league titles on a perfect day for cross country at Fort Steilacoom Park.
Maya Nichols won her second consecutive South Sound Conference championships and led her team to an overall title, finishing with 32 points, well ahead of Capital and Gig Harbor.
The Cougars top four runners — Nichols (19:00.20), Taylor Nichols (19:56.60), Rissa Eilmes (20:26.80) and Kara Shepard (20:30.50) — finished first, third, fifth and seventh. Madeline Shetler (21:23) finished not far behind in 16th to seal the victory.
The Central Kitsap boys will also advance to districts with a third place finish on their side, only one place behind last year despite losing five of their top seven runners.
Louis Gannon had the top time, 16:53.70, good for seventh place. Rounding out the scoring runners were Jamal Chandler (11th, 17:08.70), Daniel Lizon (17th, 17:24.70), Seth Tower (24th, 17:42.40), and Samuel Christensen (30th, 17:51.70).
South Kitsap girls ride together to a title
The Lady Wolves all got to the finish line in a cluster and managed to edge out Bellarmine Prep and Emerald Ridge for a South Puget Sound League 4A championship.
South Kitsap scored 64 points, ahead of Bellarmine (69) and Emerald Ridge (71).
Paxton DePoe finished eighth for South Kitsap with a time of 19:29.70, and she was followed closely by Ashley Sciocchetti (10th, 19:31.90) Kristina Ihlen (11th, 19:32.40) and Evelyn Collins-Winn (12th, 19:42.40). Eugenia Palko came in 23rd, five places ahead of the next scoring runner for Bellarmine and that was enough to give South Kitsap a five-point victory.
The South Kitsap boys took third place in another extremely close race. Olympia took the title with 60 points, Bellarmine had 63 and South Kitsap was right behind with 67.
Zach Grams finished fourth in 16:13.20, followed closely by Jacob Laws (7th, 16:21.20). Kevin McDermott (15th, 16:43.60), Jacob Rowden (16th, 16:46.10) and Shawn Clough (25th, 16:58.80) all finished in the top 25.