Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group Junior Paxton DePoe was the first to finish for the South Kitsap girls at districts on Oct. 28. She finished in 16th place with a time of 19:49.60.

South Kitsap boys and girls qualify for state meet | Cross Country

Both teams finished in sixth place at districts on Oct. 28.

UNIVERSITY PLACE — The South Kitsap boys and girls cross country teams will be making the long trip out to Pasco on Nov. 4 after qualifying for the WIAA cross country state meet at Chambers Bay.

Both the boys and girls teams finished sixth in their respective races at the district meet on Oct. 28 down in Pierce County. The top five boys runners combined to scored 230 points while the girls scored 175.

The boys ran earlier in the day while the course was still shrouded in morning fog. From the starting line, it was impossible to see across the field to the race’s first turn.

But that did not prevent Zach Grams from turning in an excellent race, finishing in ninth place with a time of 16:26.20. While many runners and coaches throughout the day noted the course was slow, Grams ran only a few seconds off his best time of the season (16:21.10 at Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational).

Jacob Laws was the next Wolves runner to cross the finish line. His time of 16:53.40 was good for 36th place in a loaded field. Rounding out the top five was Jacob Simon (60th, 17:17.40); Kevin McDermott (70th, 17:28.90) and Jacob Rowden (90th, 17:40.40). 159 runners in all completed the race.

“The boys were super excited, they really ran well, and I knew they could do this all season,” said head coach Ed Santos. “We did a hard workout, harder than I typically would have done on the Tuesday before district. We had to do something to prove to them how good they are. They put it together, I was super proud of them and they raced extremely well.”

By the time the girls were ready to take the marks, the sun had come out, which made conditions more difficult for some runners as the temperature quickly rose. One of their top runners, Evelyn Collins-Winn, was pulled out during the race, still showing the effects of an illness she had been battling. But the remaining girls fought hard and finished sixth behind SPSL foes Emerald Ridge and Curtis as well as 4A powers Camas, Skyview and Tahoma.

Paxton DePoe and Kristina Ihlen both ran solid races, finishing 16th and 21st with times of 19:49.60 and 20:00.10 respectively. Eugenia Palko and Casandra Hebert also picked up important points for the Wolves, crossing the finish line in 41st and 42nd places with times of 20:31.40 and 20:31.70. Then, Emma Orser then finished in 58th at 21:04.90, ensuring South Kitsap would finish five points ahead of seventh place Union and seven points behind fifth place Curtis.

Collins-Winn will be ready to go for the state meet, said Santos.

“The girls have always had the mindset that they want to place well at state meet,” said Santos. “So with the boys going as well, now the attitude is we’re not just going to states to say we made it, now it’s time to compete. The girls had a really nice workout yesterday. They looked good, they looked sharp.”

The state meet will take place on Nov. 4 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. The girls team is expected to run at 1 p.m., while the boys are slated for 2:30 p.m.

Mark Krulish / Kitsap News Group South Kitsap junior Zach Grams heads towards the finish line, fighting through the early morning fog. He finished ninth in the race and his team qualified for the state meet.

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