Last runner standing

Kingston's Alex Winn survives district meet, advances to State.

KINGSTON — It may have been golf that prepared Alex Winn for the Westside Classic cross country meet on Nov. 1.

No, not the game of golf. This golf is a training exercise that has runners run 400 meters 18 times with a minute rest in between.

Winn, a Kingston High School junior, is admittedly “not much of a 400 [meter] runner.” He’s not the best at finishing races, either, he said.

But Winn capitalized on his training during the 2A Division of the Classic, finishing 28th and qualifying for the 2A State Championships.

It was a close one at the Classic.

About two miles into the 3.1 mile race, Winn heard shouting from the sidelines.

“I had some friends from our team along the way,” Winn said. “They were shouting ‘33rd.’ ”

Winn had about 1 mile to pick up the pace, because only the top 30 runners would advance to State.

Winn trained over the summer, running about 250 miles, he said. He did his best to train five days a week.

Adding to his summer training was his fall season, including practices and the golf exercise.

So Winn ran. The final stretch wasn’t too difficult, he said; it was mostly straight. However, “it was really taking a roll on my legs, doing that last 400,” he said.

Winn crossed the finish line in 17 minutes 12.38 seconds. He took 28th.

“It was pretty close,” said Kingston head coach Lee Wilson.

But it was enough. Winn made the cut by about 3 seconds. Highline’s Kelvin Herbruger finished in 17:13.45 to take 29th. Renton’s Jakob Kurle took the last qualifying spot in 17:14.35, with Liberty-Issaquah’s Sean Szymanski finishing 31st in 17:15.07.

Winn was the fastest runner from Kingston and North Kitsap and the sole competitor from the Classic to qualify for State.

Winn said he knew he would make it state “like on a sliver,” which he did. “But I didn’t think I would be the only one in the district,” he said.

North Kitsap freshman Anneli Seaberg was close to qualifying for State. She finished the girl’s race in 21:34.95, taking 35th.

There were multiple factors into why runners from North Kitsap and Kingston had difficulty getting qualifying times. That includes reclassification of Liberty-Issaquah and Sammamish high schools this year. Both schools — especially their girls teams — filled the top 30 spots. There were four girls from the Olympic League who qualified for the 2A state meet. The Sequim boys’ team, which took first overall, and four individuals qualified for State from the league.

So, with a tough district meet behind him, it’s up to Winn to represent the North Kitsap School District. He will run at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 8 in the 2A State Championships in Pasco.