LMS runners take team title at finals

Jack Terhar, cross country coach at Langley Middle School, wasn’t trying to jump-start the local economy before the start of the Cascade League Cross Country Finals this week at Waterman Field.

“Spend that money!” the coach shouted as his runners gathered at the starting line. “Spend that money!”

The Cougars did just that, cashing in on a mother lode of outstanding efforts from runners on both the boys and girls team to take the combined team title over Granite Falls, King’s and Lakewood.

Oliver Saunsaucie, a seventh-grader who finished first among the LMS boys and in third place among the four schools with a time of 9:06 in the boys race, explained the coach’s money mantra.

The Cougar runners earn “money” by working hard at practice, with deposits made into their “fitness bank.” And on race day, it’s time to cash in, Saunsaucie said.

Saunsaucie admitted he had little spare change left at the end of the competitive race.

He said the gravel hill on the course was his biggest trouble spot, as well as the final leg that wraps around part of the running track at Waterman Field.

“Another hard part is the last track; it’s the end of the race and you have to catch your wind to beat the guy ahead of you,” Saunsaucie explained.

“I feel pretty good. We had a good season and we have two really good coaches who helped us all the way,” he added.

“We went into the meet with the goal of winning the overall team title and these kids did that and more,” Coach Terhar said. “They are a deserving group, they raced hard.”

Fellow LMS Coach Steve Jones agreed.

“These results are due in large part to the hard work our runners put into the workouts at practice. Put simply, their hard work paid off,” Jones said.

The final meet of the season featured two races.

In the first race, the LMS girls dominated with a 62-point cushion over second place Lakewood.

The Cougars’ top five scorers placed in the top seven, with Malika Arnold coming in second in a time of 10:04 on the 1.5-mile course.

King’s Makenna Smith was the individual champ with a 9:44 finish.

Arnold, an eighth-grader, said Smith has been a tough competitor this season.

“She has gotten in front of me in every race,” Arnold said with a laugh.

Even so, she was pleased with her performance.

“I was kind of worried, because I’ve been doing pretty bad the last couple of races because I was sick,” she added.

Other top finishers for the Cougars were Jamie Rodden in third (10:09), Mady Boyd in fifth (10:18), Emma Lungren in sixth (10:20) and Ashely Woodberry in seventh (10:38).

The LMS girls earned 11 out of the top 15 ribbon awards. The other ribbon winners were Reilly McDonald, Rachael Carrigan, Meaghan Wright, Samantha Baldwin, Lizzy Hanzelka and Helen Reilly.

The Langley boys were in a dogfight with King’s in the second race. The two teams have had several close finishes during the season, and the Cougars ended up being edged out at the finish by only four points behind King’s, despite missing one of their top runners, who was injured.

Langley’s Andy Madsen finished in seventh (9:21), Davin Kesler was 12th (9:37), Kameron Donohoe was 13th (9:38), and Anders Bergquist came in 14th (9:39).

Andrew Ayers from King’s finished first in 5:51.

Other team scores included the Langley eighth-grade girls with a 30-point spread over second place Lakewood. Joining Arnold, Rodden and Boyd were scorers Meaghan Wright and Helen Reilly.

The LMS seventh-grade girls also placed first, with Reilly McDonald, Rachael Carrigan and Samantha Baldwin joining Lungren and Woodberry in the scoring.

The Cougars seventh-grade boys collected a first-place title with a 52-point victory over second place Granite Falls. Cole Zink joined Saunsaucie, Kelser, Donohoe and Bergquist as scorers.

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