Skyline cross country holds off shorthanded Eastlake
October 1, 2013
By Neil Pierson
Considering their top seven runners were resting in anticipation of the prestigious Nike Pre-Nationals meet in Portland, Ore., the Eastlake Wolves boys cross country program didn’t turn out poor results at a KingCo Conference dual meet on Sept. 25.
Grant Flindt, a junior, led the way across the finish line in 16 minutes, 8 seconds, and Eastlake’s second-tier runners nearly eclipsed rival Skyline at the 3-mile Klahanie Park course.
Skyline held on for a pair of dual-meet wins over Eastlake (28-31) and Ballard (23-34) but the numbers held plenty of positive signs for Wolves coach Troy Anderson.
“We just have some amazing team depth, and Grant Flindt, who was our top guy today, had a breakout race,” Anderson said.
Flindt still has plenty of chances this season to break into Eastlake’s top-seven pack, which will have opportunities to race at the league, district and state championships. He tried to prove himself last week at Klahanie Park, which had some challenging terrain.
“Going up the hills at the beginning and at the end, they were really tough because I started out tired, actually,” Flindt said. “But it was good to run with Joey Nakao from Skyline, Hanson Lee from Ballard.”
Flindt paced the field for most of the race, eventually finishing 5 seconds ahead of Nakao and 14 seconds in front of Lee.
Ben Fixman, Jack Lauzon, Connor Ahlquist and Kendrick Mitchell rounded out the Wolves’ point scorers.
“We knew that it was going to be tough for our second squad to compete really well with them,” Anderson said, “and they pushed themselves hard and made Skyline work for it.”
Eastlake’s elite runners have started the season strong, with sophomore Nathan Pixler and senior captain Kyle Suver turning in the top times. Flindt said the boys are aiming for a top-four finish and a trophy at November’s state meet.
“We’ve got big goals this year,” Flindt said. “This team is achieving more than any Eastlake team before us, and it’s great to see success.”
GIRLS: SKYLINE TRIO LEAD THE WAY TO VICTORY
Alex Daugherty has put her talent on display as a basketball and track and field athlete, but she hadn’t run a cross-country race until early September.
The Skyline High senior is showing she has the stamina for the sport, winning the individual girls title at Klahanie Park in 18:56.
She had plenty of help as Skyline easily defeated Ballard (19-41) and Eastlake (15-50). Sophomore Maizy Brewer was just 2 seconds back in second place, and fellow senior Samantha Krahling took third in 19:04.
The three Spartans broke in front of the pack immediately and gradually widened their lead over the course of the race. Ballard’s Jamie Smith finished fourth, and she was 38 seconds back of Krahling.
It was an encouraging performance from Daughterty, who said she set a conservative pace for the first two miles. She isn’t far from reaching a preseason goal.
“This is my first cross-country season, so my goal my coaches set with me is to be sub-18:30,” she said. “It completely depends on the course. I mean, you’re racing the course more than your time in a lot of these situations.”
Skyline coach Brendan Hyland said the girls are in decent shape to be one of 16 teams at the season-ending state meet.
“As long as we stay healthy; that’s always a concern in girls cross country,” Hyland said. “If we can stay healthy, I think they have a real good shot to get to state. And that’ll be fun, because we haven’t gone to state for a few years with the ladies.”