CROSS COUNTRY: K-M boys run to state berth; KW advances two, KR one to final race of year

  • BY Wire Service
  • Thursday, November 5, 2009 2:02pm
  • Sports

The Kent-Meridian boys cross country team got it done this past Saturday during the 29-team district meet at Tacoma’s American Lake Golf Course.

Behind predictably solid performances from DJ Jigre, Derrick Daigre and Matt Bailey, the Royals brought home a sixth-place finish with 163 points, which was just good enough for the entire K-M team to advance to the state meet (Nov. 7 at Pasco’s Sun Willows Golf Course).

The top 30 individuals and six teams from the district meet advance to the state meet.

It’s a goal the Royals set at the beginning of the season and an accomplishment that hasn’t been reached at Kent-Meridian since 2002.

“Coming into the meet, we were probably ranked eighth or ninth,” said K-M coach Ernie Ammons. “With the boys, we’ve had the same game plan every day. We never die. We never quit. It was the time to lay it on the line.”

Gig Harbor edged Auburn Riverside, taking the team title with 75 points followed by the Ravens at 86. Locally, Kent-Meridian was the highest team placer among boys, followed eighth-place KR (201) and Kentwood (277), which took 11th.

Gig Harbor edged Tahoma for the girls title as well, 50-60, followed by Bellarmine Prep (96).

Of all the local placers, nobody outdid K-M’s Alexia Martin for the second week in a row. Martin, a sophomore, served up a personal best for the second-consecutive week, breaking the tape in 18:42, which was good enough for a second-place finish. Gig Harbor’s Maureen Trembley won the crown with a time of 18:26.6, followed by Martin and then Tahoma’s Julianna Mock (18:52.7) and Elizabeth Oosterhout (18:56.7).

Since last season, Martin has cut nearly a minute off of her time, a mark that includes a three-second drop this past weekend.

“She’s amazing,” Ammons said. “She turns it on in the postseason. She’s just a competitor. She’s got that taste of success and you can see that confidence level rising.”

Kentwood’s Kailey Ulland, who took eighth with a time of 19:10.1, was the only other local female to earn a berth at the state meet.

“She’s just a real gamer,” said Kentwood coach Ken Paul. “She’s competitive and has been working hard all year.”

However, the nicest surprise of the meet may have been the performance of Kentwood sophomore Danny Lunder. Lunder, a first-year cross country runner, sizzled at the district meet, clocking in at 16:40.5, which was good enough for 20th place. Interestingly, Lunder did not open the season as Kentwood’s top runner and only ascended to that level in recent weeks.

“He has come a long ways,” said Paul. “We knew right away that this kid had a lot of ability and potential. He has progressed all the way to the No. 1 (slot) in the last three weeks. I figured he would get to this level. When I talked to him in the spring about coming out in the fall, I knew he’d be a player.”

The Kent-Meridian boys had plenty of those this past weekend. Leading the way for the Royals was Daigre, who took 12th (16:26.1) followed by Jigre in 14th (16:35.5) and Matt Bailey, who took 19th (16:38.7). Daigre, Jigre and Bailey will be joined at state by Jordan Roberts, Andrew Smith and Nick Lemmon among others.

Alex Horton, who took 30th with a time of 16:52.9 was the lone Charger to earn a state berth. Kentlake did not advance a single male or female runner to state. Meanwhile, Tahoma, which traditionally challenges for the district team title, pushed two boys on to state — Casey Campbell (6th/16:02.7) and James Dagley (27th/16:45.2).

The Tahoma girls will advance its entire team to state, led by Mock and Oosterhout. Tahoma’s Hannah Mittelstaedt (10th/19:13.3) and Lauren Clawson (19th/19:39.8) also finished among the top 30 at the district meet.

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