Sports

On the run: Warriors to state

The Crosspoint Academy cross country team is headed to the Class 2B state championships, which are tomorrow at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. Both the boys and girls advanced for the first time in school history. - Photo courtesy of Emil Heinze
The Crosspoint Academy cross country team is headed to the Class 2B state championships, which are tomorrow at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. Both the boys and girls advanced for the first time in school history.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Emil Heinze

As the curtain closes on the cross country season, Carlie Rouse hopes to deliver a standout performance in the final act.

The Crosspoint Academy senior placed third at last weekend’s Westside Classic at American Lake Golf Course to secure her third consecutive berth to the state championships, leading the Crosspoint girls to the Class 2B Tri-District championship.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure (on myself), but at the same time, I have a lot of pressure because I want to run the race of my life Saturday,” Rouse said, looking ahead to tomorrow’s state meet in Pasco. “I know that I have to run the race of my life to medal.”

To accomplish that feat, the captain needs to finish eighth or better. She earned 15th in 2008 on a time of 21 minutes, 35 seconds and 57th in 2007 (27:27).

But after training over the summer to run in the Sunfair Invitational, one of the state’s largest cross country meets, and staying healthy wire-to-wire this year, Rouse is in position to post her best finish.

The three-sport athlete — she also plays basketball and runs track — clocked a team-best time of 21:16.7 at the Classic to edge teammate and fourth-place finisher Molly Wheeler (21:36.4). Sophomore Elise Peterson (22:58.2) placed seventh and junior Breyenne Mosey (24:09.8) 10th, giving the Lady Warriors four top 10-finishers.

The team ended the day with 22 points to top runner-up Rainier Christian (33) and third-place Mount Vernon Christian (77).

“I’m trying to make them realize that this is such an honor that we get to go to state,” said Rouse, who plans to run cross country next year at a college yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, the boys team took third at the Classic to sneak into state — three of eight teams advanced — behind a second-place run from freshman Russell Melin (17:49.1), who missed an individual championship by less than eight seconds.

Comprised of three freshmen, the boys team is back to state after missing it by just three points in 2008. It took what coach Sue Sheline called a “phenomenal” performance to catapult the Warriors to Pasco.

“It really lit a fire underneath them, and they didn’t want that to happen again,” Sheline said of the narrow miss last season. “So they’ve worked really, really hard.”

Melin was the lone runner to crack the top 20, but captain Caleb Bertolini (19:29), Kelvin Mason (19:29.6) and Mikal Pattee (19:33.7) grabbed 23rd, 24th and 25th, respectively, to give the Warriors 104 points and a narrow victory over fourth-place Mount Vernon Christian (106).

“Everybody ran their hearts out,” Melin said. “If we yielded even one place, we wouldn’t have made it to state because we only won by two points.”

For Melin, the expectations are modest entering state. This is his first state-level competition in high school and he understands the caliber of competition is great.

Yet his times continue to drop — at districts, he posted his first official sub-18-minute time on a 5,000-meter course this season — and anything can happen on a given day.

“I’m just going to run my race, I don’t really care what place I get,” he said. “I’m not expecting a whole lot, because it’s state. There are going to be fast people.”

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