Central Kitsap’s Sophia Kohler pushes hard towards the finish line during the South Sound Conference championship meet on Oct. 19. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Central Kitsap’s Sophia Kohler pushes hard towards the finish line during the South Sound Conference championship meet on Oct. 19. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Central Kitsap girls win SSC Cross Country Championship

Central Kitsap boys and girls teams both advance to districts.

LAKEWOOD — It was a banner day on Oct. 19 at Fort Steilacoom Park for Central Kitsap’s boys and girls cross country teams, both of which braved adverse weather conditions to earn top two finishes at the South Sound Conference championship meet and advance to districts.

The girls took home a championship, finishing 22 points ahead of Peninsula and 50 points over third-place Capital, thanks to a dominant performance from their top three runners. The boys finished in second place just behind champion Gig Harbor, but most importantly, both teams will get a chance to run at the Westside Classic Oct. 28 at Chambers Creek Regional Park.

“We finished top two on both sides, that’s what we expected,” head coach Chris Baldus said. “The runners seemed to be into it, running as a team — given the weather, given the conditions, this is exactly what we expected. I’m happy, I know the girls are happy and I know the boys are happy too.”

As they have for much of the season, the girls ran extraordinarily well in their heat. Freshman Maya Nichols won the race with a time of 19:06.60, and her teammate, senior Molly Fischer, finished just a few seconds behind in 19:11.20.

The duo was so quick, they were originally mistaken for the final runners from the 4A race, which had started approximately 10 minutes prior.

Rounding out the top three was Central Kitsap’s Sophia Kohler, who outpaced her fourth place challenger, and Katelynn Strate of Yelm, with a time of 20:13.50.

Although it’s not too hard to win a meet when you take home the top three spots in a race, the Cougars were fortunate to get excellent performances from freshman Kara Shepard, who finished 10th with a time of 20:56.70, and sophomore Madeline Shetler, who came in 19th at 21:48.50.

With those five runners scoring a combined 35 — in cross country, scores are calculated by the place in which the five runners finish — it was more than enough to take home the SSC title.

“The top three ran really, really well,” Baldus said. “Our four was awesome, she moved up a ton during the race in her first league championship race, and our five did great as well.”

During the boys’ race, the wind and rain that had held off for much of the afternoon kicked up, creating tough conditions for the runners. Although the boys could not match the performance of Gig Harbor’s Bradley Peloquin, Peter Smith and Nolan Carroll, all five runners placed within the top 20 to give them a second-place finish with 60 points.

Central Kitsap was led by senior Andrew Simon, who finished in fourth place with a time of 16:28.60, and senior Joshua Geiser, who took home sixth, running the race in 16:37. Rounding out the top five were senior Ian Nye (14th, 17:12.80), junior Louis Gannon (16th, 17:18.90) and junior Zach Green (20th, 17:28.30).

“They were strong,” Baldus said. “Gig Harbor is really strong up front, so we were not able to catch them today, but our boys did what we needed them to do and we advanced. As a pack, they ran really well.”

The teams will reconvene next weekend for the district meet, which pits runners from District 3 and District 4, consisting of schools from western and southwestern Washington, all the way down to the Oregon border to the south, out to the coast of Washington to the west, and stretching towards the southern suburbs of Seattle to the east.

“We’ll recalibrate and get ready for districts next weekend,” Baldus said. “I’m sure it’s going to be another interesting weather weekend. All in all, I’m happy with what we did today.”

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com.

Joshua Geiser (left) of Central Kitsap runs neck-and-neck with William Johnson of Shelton during the boys race at the South Sound Conference championship meet. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Joshua Geiser (left) of Central Kitsap runs neck-and-neck with William Johnson of Shelton during the boys race at the South Sound Conference championship meet. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

More in Sports

Jonas La Tour of North Kitsap was the league MVP last spring. File Photo
Winter prep sports previews

North Kitsap boys basketball; Kingston wrestling

With the strong winds, Viking quarterback Colton Bower (2) was more effective running the ball in the first half. Here Quinn Knivila- Ruchie (52) and Jesus Mares (53) block for him. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photographs
Wind, rain, Lions knock NK out of playoffs

It’s hard enough to beat the second-ranked team in the state playoffs… Continue reading

Viking quarterback Colton Bower was named MVP, again, of the Olympic League. File Photo
Bower MVP, again; 11 others also honored

Gee, wonder who the Most Valuable Player is in the Olympic League… Continue reading

The Spartan volleyball team finished 1-2 at state. File Photo
BHS girls volleyball team knocked out at state

They took the long way to get to Yakima

NK defense shuts out 6th opponent

Vikings blank Shadle Park, host Steilacoom

Marion Stejer, a Kingston senior, dinks the ball for a point against Lindbergh. Steve Powell/Kingston Community News photos
Kingston goes 1-1 at district tourney

The Kingston girls volleyball team easily won its first contest at the… Continue reading

The moment North Kitsap realized it had won and would advance to state. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK advances to state in girls volleyball

After qualifying for state last week, North Kitsap’s girls volleyball team went… Continue reading

Colton Bower. File Photo
N. Kitsap hosts state playoff game Saturday

14th seeded Shadle Park will face No. 3 seed Vikings

The North Kitsap boys basketball team celebrates after pulling off an improbable comeback in the semifinals in the 2A state tournament against Lynden. (File photo)
Krulish: A look back at my 4 years in Kitsap

After a little over four years covering high school sports, and occasionally… Continue reading

Colton Bower’s 299-yard, six touchdown performance on Friday night helped him break the North Kitsap record for passing yards in a season. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bower sets NK passing record in win over Kingston

Colton Bower is one of the last players you’ll ever hear talking… Continue reading

North Kitsap’s Maddie Pryde tips a shot past two Bainbridge defenders. The Vikings defeated the Spartans on Tuesday night to split their season series and share the top spot in the Olympic League. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
NK beats BHS to share top spot in Olympic League

The North Kitsap volleyball team never forgot about its first loss of… Continue reading

Review file photo 
The Bainbridge HS girls cross country team, shown here taking off during a league meet at Battle Point Park, took home the Olympic League championship last week.
Spartan girls XC win Olympic League title

The Spartans girls cross country team cooked up the same recipe for… Continue reading