RICHLAND — Wa-Hi is sending three harriers to the Washington state Class 4A cross country meet Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco after Saturday’s regional race in Richland.
Blue Devil Sean Newcomb led the way with a third-place finish in 15:30.7.
Mead’s Andrew Gardner led the 4A boys finishers in 14:52.1.
Ben Wolpert joins Newcomb at the state meet with an eighth-place finish in 15:50.9.
On the girls side, Courtney Cox’s fourth-place finish in 19:20.6 advanced her to the state meet.
Richland’s Lindsey Bradley won in 18:07.4.
“All three had very good days today,” Blue Devil coach Mike Locati said of his state qualifiers. “I couldn’t be happier for each of them.
“Courtney started conservative in the first mile (as it went out fast), she was in the back of the lead pack and then worked her way up to the front in mile two and then held on the last mile,” he said. “She ran a solid, smart race.
“Sean and Ben, on the other hand, were in the front, running third and fourth from the beginning. Ben faded off the pace some in the second mile, but was able to maintain and lead the larger state qualifying pack.
“Sean today ran just another solid race from start to end,” Locati said. “I think he has found his groove.”
Just missing top-10 finishes and a state-qualifying mark for the Blue Devil girls were Catherine Feistner and Hannah Hampson, who finished 11th and 12th, respectively.
“They ran incredible races today,” Locati said. “They ran so well today. Their last mile was unbelievable. It was by far the most exciting part of the day today.”
Wa-Hi’s boys and girls teams finished fifth, with the top two teams qualifying for state.
Newcomb also was named Mid-Columbia Conference co-Runner of the Year, and the Wa-Hi girls team also won the state Class 4A academic championship.
“Next week for all of them, we need to make sure we keep the engines running as we fine tune things in practice,” Locati said of state preparations. “It is a balancing act — speed, endurance, mileage, all things to consider. Each one is a different style of runner.
“Probably the most important factor though will be their mental state,” he said. “Confidence is key!”