POMEROY - Waitsburg-Prescott runner Seth Deal nabbed first place in the District 9 cross country championships Thursday.
Eight regional teams ran at the Pomeroy Golf Course, with W-P's boys finishing second.
W-P's finish qualified it for the state meet for the third consecutive year, and Deal and eighth-place finisher Nick Carpenter also qualified with their individual times.
Waitsburg-Precott's Isabela Benito finished fourth, qualifying her to join the boys team at state at Sun Willows in Pasco on Nov. 6.
"We're pretty excited," said W-P coach Joanna Lanning. "With three freshman on the team, this was kind of a question mark year, but they really pulled through and did great. My voice is hoarse from cheering so much yesterday."
Deal ran the 5,000-meter course in 16:58, more than 20 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Nick Lumetta from Tri-Cities Prep, who ran in 17:19.
Tri-Cities Prep took first in the boys team results.
"Seth wanted to win and he wanted to save enough to have a good showing at State," Lanning said. "On the second half of the course, he just built up a comfortable lead and cruised there. It was fantastic."
The W-P girls did not have enough runners to field a complete team. Benito's 22:25 fourth-place finish included an asthma attack on the back half of the course.
"Isabela was behind the first and second runners, and going up a hill. It looked like she'd take the hill, but she was struggling," Lanning said. "It was scary. She finished sheerly on mental ability because she couldn't breathe for quite a while."
Lanning said Benito, a senior, will likely have her asthma medications adjusted this weekend. She didn't know the cause of the asthma attack, although the weather cooled suddenly while they were in Pomeroy.
"I told her that the main thing was to get a slot, because I want her to have a good showing at State," Lanning said.
The other W-P boys finishers were Carpenter in eighth in 18:28, Matthew Montgomery's 14th in 19:38, Erik Sandoval 15th in 19:45, E.J. Meserve was 23rd in 20:23 and Ben Moser 29th in 20:50.
Pomeroy finished third for the girls, with 73 points.
Brielle Hocking was 22nd for the Pirates in 26:58 and Kelcey Gerking was 25th in 31:34. Shelby Fuchs, Catherine DellaMaggiora and Maria Meyers were incomplete.
Pomeroy's boys were seventh.
Joel Meyers finished 26th for the Pirates, running in 20:44. Robert Adams was 28th in 20:48, Mike Wade was 36th in 23:22, Jeremy Burke was 39th in 24:08, Derek Anderson was 42nd in 28:16 and Samuel Lindekugel was 44th in 30:24.
Dayton's boys finished fifth overall.
Jason Norris finished first for the Bulldogs, taking 13th in 19:36. Jason Button finished 19th in 20:15, Marshall Nechodom finished 20th in 20:16, Nathanial Steen finished 21st in 20:17, Seth Jason was 35th in 22:01, Nick Owens 37th in 23:27 and Jacob Waggoner finished 38th in 23:41.
Dayton did not have enough runners to field a complete girls team. Claire Lyman finished 20th for the Bulldogs in 25:47 and Anita Jackson finished 21st in 26:43.
Two girls also ran for Walla Walla Valley Academy. Casey Roosma finished 15th in 24:17 and Lauren Spicklemier finished 23rd in 27:27.
Tri-Cities Prep finished first for the boys with a team score of 22. Waitsburg-Prescott's was second with 61 points, Asotin third with 82, St. John-Endicott/LaCrosse-Washtucna fourth with 105, Dayton fifth with 108, Liberty Christian sixth in 155 and Pomeroy seventh with 171.
Only three schools fielded complete girls teams. Asotin was first with 24, St. John-Endicott/LaCrosse-Washtucna second with 31 and Pomeroy third with 73.
The top two boys teams and top girls team, as well as the top 10 boys and top five girls, earned tickets to the State meet Nov. 6 at Sun Willows in Pasco.
For now, Lanning and W-P will focus on training.
"We'll work in practice and adjust, depending on how people feel," she said. "We worked really hard all season and we did a lot of mountain training, and the Pasco course is really hilly.
"State was their goal and that's what they've prepared for," she said. "We're hoping for a good strong show to send the three seniors out. All the kids boost each other up. They're a very close team and they all support everyone else."
Lanning only had eight runners on the team this year.
"I'd rather have small numbers and kids like this any day," she said.