UNIVERSITY PLACE — Madison Zosa had the lead wire-to-wire.
By the time the North Kitsap freshman reached the second large loop of the course at Chambers Bay, she was already out to a commanding lead. And as she crossed the finish line, there was not another runner in sight.
Although she was not entirely aware of that fact.
The race on the morning of Oct. 28 was run with fog covering much of the course. Visibility was limited to approximately 20-30 feet, meaning all she knew for certain was that she had at least a few seconds of distance between her and the rest of the pack.
“I think it helped with the pressure, because I could not see all of the open space or how much farther I had to go,” said Zosa.
But by the time she had conquered the last hill, she knew the race was hers.
“When I came down the hill, I did [see I had a big lead], so I kind of calmed down a little bit,” she said.
Zosa’s time of 19:19.70 was 51 seconds better than the second place runner, Orting’s Madeline Drennen, and gave her the title of 2A West Central District champion.
Although the North Kitsap girls did not qualify for the state meet as a team, Zosa will surely be among some of the state’s best at the Nov. 4 meet in Pasco.
On the other hand, the North Kitsap boys took home second place with a score of 91 and qualified for the state meet. Only a dominant performance by Steilacoom kept them out of the top spot.
It was a solid team effort for the Vikings, led by sophomore Max Metters, who placed 11th with a time of 17:37.70. Seniors David Blalock and Matthew Hyter were not far behind with times of 17:44.10 an 17:47.60, which placed them in 15th and 17th. Freshman Luke Hensley (23rd, 18:00.70) and sophomore Igmin Martinez (26th, 18:02.30) were the fourth and fifth finishers for North Kitsap.
The news was also positive for the Kingston boys and girls as both teams will get to run at the state meet at Sun Willows Golf Course.
Stefans Lusis, who unfortunately became ill at the previous week’s Olympic League championship meet, recovered well and finished in second place with a time of 16:55.80. Thankfully for him, the boys team was able to qualify for districts without him finishing, enabling him to race at Chambers Bay.
“I took that entire weekend off, I rested up, and then going into the week i took it pretty slow,” said Lusis. “I think it all paid off in the end because I felt pretty good.”
Lusis started the race slowly, and did not run with the lead pack. He had planned ahead of time to start conservatively and finish strong, and it worked out well for him, finishing 16 seconds behind Tyler Hughey of Lindbergh. Lusis hopes his strong performance will help him towards his goal of finishing in the top 30 at the state meet. His time on what many considered to be a slower, more difficult course, bodes well for that mission.
“My goal at the beginning of the season was to get top 30 at state, and I think I can follow through with that if I can get under 16:40.”
The team finished fifth thanks to a 10th place run from senior Dorian Issa (17:37.70) and strong races from Tor Sather (34th, 18:13.10), Alexander Robertson (36th, 18:15.20) and Adin Bowers (48th, 18:42.10).
The Kingston girls took home fourth, finishing behind champion Port Angeles, Steilacoom and Highline. Strong top ten finishes from Holly Rouse (6th, 20:49.70) and Claire Larson (21:10.50) helped propel the team to a qualifying spot. Rounding out their top five was Montana Thoroughman (30th, 22:09.10), Bridget McMahon (37th, 22:19.40) and Kenzie Rutherford (56th, 23:15.10).