Sports

Warriors in a league of their own

The King’s West girls cross country team preps to win a district title. Carlie Rouse, Stina Moseng, Sarah Webster, Michelle Webster and Crista Peterson practice on Wednesday.  - Photo by James Mange
The King’s West girls cross country team preps to win a district title. Carlie Rouse, Stina Moseng, Sarah Webster, Michelle Webster and Crista Peterson practice on Wednesday.
— image credit: Photo by James Mange

PORT ORCHARD — The King’s West girls cross country team won the SeaTac League title in the championship meet last Thursday. Normally you’d think of cross country as a grueling sport, but this championship was more of a walk in the park. That’s because the Warrior women were the only complete girls team in the league, with four other schools sporting only partial squads.

That doesn’t mean the King’s West crew didn’t earn the title through hard work. The young team has been improving throughout the year and looks a good bet to win the district title as well, defending last year’s crown. The last time King’s West won the SeaTac championship was in back-to-back victories in 2001 and 2002.

The Warriors’ leading runner all season long has been sophomore Carlie Rouse, who had an off day in the championships, placing 12th in 27 minutes, 38 seconds, well off her normal standard.

“Carlie said she just didn’t feel it that day,” coach Dennis Sheline said. “She just didn’t have any energy. She’s not sick, she’s fine now and she should be ready for districts on Saturday.”

Stepping up to lead the team was junior Stina Moseng, who finished sixth in the race at 24:28. The only senior on the team, Michelle Webster, was next in 25:01 on the 5,000-meter course at Trophy Lake Golf Course. Sarah Webster, a freshman, was ninth in 25:52 and sophomore Crista Peterson finished off the scoring with a 14th-place finish in 36:29.

Michelle Webster is the team captain and she’s taken the role in stride.

“It’s a lot of new responsibility for me,” she said. “I help run the drills during warm-ups and try to keep the girls together.”

Being a leader is nothing new for Michelle, as she’s been a big sister most of her life. But being the captain places a new dynamic into her family.

“Sarah isn’t quite used to having me be in charge like that,” Michelle said.

That’s not to say there have been problems. In fact, Sarah and the other young members of the team are the wave of the future, hoping to add more league titles, competition or not. Not only has a sophomore been the leading runner most of the year, but the youth movement is strong in the middle school as well.

King’s West had two impressive performances in the 1.5-mile race, with eighth grader Molly Wheeler winning the race by more than a minute and a half. Wheeler ran a 10:59. Faith Hamilton, also in eighth grade, ran third in 12:51.

The King’s West teams run in the district meet today at American Lake Golf Course in Lakewood.

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