Left, Rachel Newhard leads the pack at Chambers Bay on Oct. 28. She captured Klahowya’s first individual district championship in over a decade. Right, Lucas Becker crosses the finish line in fourth place at the West Central District meet.                                Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group

Left, Rachel Newhard leads the pack at Chambers Bay on Oct. 28. She captured Klahowya’s first individual district championship in over a decade. Right, Lucas Becker crosses the finish line in fourth place at the West Central District meet. Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group

Rachel Newhard wins district 1A title for Klahowya | Cross Country

The Klahowya boys and girls teams both advanced to the state meet.

UNIVERSITY PLACE — Putting it in her own terms, it was not until seventh grade that Rachel Newhard could run “a good mile.” But now in ninth grade, she is a district champion.

The diminutive freshman won the 1A title with a time of 20:27.30 at Chambers Bay on Oct. 28, finishing more than 20 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.

After the race, Newhard recalled her decision to start running cross country two years ago. Her twin sister chose to play volleyball, but Newhard did not enjoy it and wanted to try a different fall sport.

“I didn’t like staying home by myself, so I chose cross country and I ended up liking it,” said Newhard.

As luck would have it, Newhard turned out to be a naturally-gifted runner and she has just begun to scratch the surface of her potential. Her ninth grade season saw her win two tri-meets, finish third at the Olympic League championships and take home fourth in her race at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational, at which she set a personal record of 19:40.50 in the 5,000 meter race.

And now she can add a district crown to her resume.

“It was pretty exciting,” Klahowya head coach Marty Krafcik said of Newhard’s win. “I was trying to think back, it’s been a long time since we had a district champion. I believe it was Sierra Cook around 2005. It has certainly been over ten years.”

Newhard and her teammates have also advanced to the state championship meet on Nov. 4, beating out Port Townsend for the second qualifying spot. Senior Savannah Smith finished in tenth with a time of 22:08.40 and Hannah Meehan came in 13th, running the course in 22:28.90. Katherine Callender (15th, 23:06.30) and Erin Tammen (21st, 25:27) rounded out the top five.

Led by Lucas Becker, the Klahowya boys also qualified for the state meet, finishing second to Charles Wright Academy. Becker finished fourth, just behind a pair of Charles Wright runners, with a time of 17:17.80.

Becker said the course was a little slower and more difficult than many of the other courses used in the West Sound, but he noted most runners were running times that were not as good as their personal bests.

“We were about seven points away from Charles Wright,” said Becker. “That’s what we wanted, to get as close to them as possible. Our main goal was getting the team to state.”

Freshman Jaeden Ellis ran well, finishing tenth in 18:00.20, as did junior Samuel Cook, who was just behind his teammate in 11th with a time of 18:18.10. Wyatt Vertefeuille and Tanyr Gagnon also took home top 20 finishes.

“We thought going in, that both teams if ran their average races, they would finish second,” said Krafcik. “So the message was to just go out there and run your race.”

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

Lucas Becker crosses the finish line in fourth place at the West Central District meet. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Lucas Becker crosses the finish line in fourth place at the West Central District meet. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

More in Sports

Nick Zeller-Singh
Why Seattle is a perfect spot for 2026 World Cup

Seattle is one of 16 locations in North America to host the… Continue reading

David Musselman worked as a security guard and in customer service for the Seattle Seahawks for nearly seven seasons. Courtesy Photos
Poulsbo firefighter’s path to Seahawks security

First in a series on locals involved with professional sports Dave Musselman… Continue reading

Nicholas Zeller-Singh/Kitsap News Group photos
Kitsap County residents have seen a spike in participation numbers of all ages since the Seattle Kraken started.
Kraken spark more interest in hockey in Kitsap County

The Seattle Kraken pro team has been a hit in Kitsap County,… Continue reading

Salix Wartes-Kahl of NK placed second to lead the Vikings at state. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK gets 6 Top 5 finishes at 2A state

Salix Wartes-Kahl had the best finish for North Kitsap at the state… Continue reading

Senior catcher Colton Bower was a big reason for NK’s success this season. He will be on scholarship to play for Washington State University next year.
NK baseball stunned in 1st round at state

North Kitsap’s baseball team won over 20 games and only lost a… Continue reading

Makayla Stockman winds up to pitch for the Vikings. Steve Powell/File Photos
NK girls make it to state the hard way

Competitions took place last weekend to see who would advance to the… Continue reading

Pitcher Noah Sorensen moved the ball around and struck out a number of Pirates.
NK wins district title, on to state

Kingston wins 1 before being eliminated

NK's Angel Chavez (8), a junior forward, and Jackson Reeves (12) rush back to defend to keep Clover Park from scoring a breakaway goal. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK wins in soccer, softball

North Kitsap is still alive in the District 2/3 2A boys soccer… Continue reading

Laine Miller of NK tossed the discus over 142 feet to win the discus. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK boys, girls win home track meet

Whether it’s for first place, or last, or somewhere in between, high… Continue reading

Kingston sophomore Peau Tameilau (33) slides safety into home plate as catcher Colton Bower of North Kitsap awaits the throw. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK comes back to beat Kingston

For a little while, it looked like Kingston might upset rival North… Continue reading

The free fishing derby put on by the Lions Club is Saturday in Poulsbo. Courtesy Photo
Free fishing derby Saturday in Poulsbo

The Poulsbo Noon Lions Club is hosting a “Hooked on Fish Derby”… Continue reading

Colton Bower of NK dives safely back to first base after hitting a single in the first inning. Zach Duffy of BHS applies the tag. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald
NK falls to league-leading Bainbridge

You can bet the North Kitsap Viking outfielders are going to be… Continue reading