A cold but beautiful afternoon at Apple Ridge cross country course last Thursday in Cowiche, Washington, saw history repeat itself. The Goldendale girls' cross country team of Ellie Rising, Kimberly Chestnut, Abby Hedges, Jade Smith, and Savannah Ross repeated as District champions in convincing fashion. Lead by Ellie Rising's repeat championship run, the Timberwolves won the district crown with 29 points to second place Royal with 64. The Timberwolves were undefeated in league action this season, winning both the league and district titles. An early indicator of strength came at the Connell Invitational in late September where the team won overall, outscoring all small and large class schools.
Rising's time of 18:42 was followed by Chestnut's strong 2nd place run of 19:38. Abby Hedges (19:54) stunned the field with a charging final surge, passing two runners to secure a 1,2,3 finish for the Timberwolves. Jade Smith (21:02) proved consistent in 8th place followed by a great run from Ross (22:02) to finish in 19th place, sealing the 2nd consecutive district title and third consecutive state appearance for the group dubbed the "Fab 5." "Our team sets high goals," said head coach Juli Rising. "I am so proud of how hard working and determined this group has been and racing with purpose to achieve their goals."
For the third straight season, both the girl's and boy's teams qualified for state in Pasco. While the girls were heavily favored to repeat as District Champions, the boy's team needed some great performances to earn one of the three available state berths. Seniors Corbin Riley (16:39) and Sterling Beasley (16:40) showed great determination as they ran with the front pack to place 5th and 6th respectively. During the race, the previous week's number 1 runner, sophomore Alden Williams, had to withdraw due to an injury, leaving the outcome to the remaining runners. Junior Austin Williams (17:06) had a breakthrough race and picked up 10 places to finish 14th overall, passing a couple runners in a closing sprint. Junior Camden Orozco (17:36) was the greatest surprise of the day, improving by over 30 places to earn 25th place. Freshman Brent Doubravsky (19:56) came through big and sealed the state berth with a two-minute PR, running in the most pressure-filled race of his season. With the boys' final team scores uncertain, the Timberwolves erupted in cheers and hugs as the boys were announced with a third place finish, 2 points ahead of 4th place Naches. This secured the fourth consecutive trip to state for the Timberwolf boys' team.
"In years past our kids seem to set their goal on District," assistant coach Randall Jones said. "We've encouraged them to believe State is our endgame and we are hoping the girls break into the top 8 this year." The girls 1A race will begin at 10:30 and the boys 1A race will be at 12:00, at Sun Willows Golf course, in Pasco,on Saturday, Nov. 9.
All League honors were also awarded: 1st team: Corbin Riley, Sterling Beasley, Austin Williams, Ellie Rising, Kim Chestnut, Abby Hedges and Jade Smith.
2nd team: Camden Orozco 3rd Team: Savannah Ross
SCAC Girls coach of the year was awarded to Juli Rising.