Blue Devils girls second, boys third at league cross country meet

Top Wa-Hi boys cross country runners Ben Wolpert (left) and Sean Newcomb (right) sprint out of the starting gate during the cross country race Tuesday at Fort Walla Walla Park.

Top Wa-Hi boys cross country runners Ben Wolpert (left) and Sean Newcomb (right) sprint out of the starting gate during the cross country race Tuesday at Fort Walla Walla Park. Photo by Matthew Zimmerman Banderas.

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WALLA WALLA — The Wa-Hi boys and girls cross country team hosted a Mid-Columbia Conference meet at Fort Walla Walla Park here Tuesday afternoon, with the Blue Devil girls finishing second and the boys third of eight team on the three-mile course.

The Wa-Hi girls finished behind Richland, 36-20, and just ahead of Kamiakin at 28-27.

The Blue Devil boys finished behind first-place Kamiakin 43-18 and second-place Richland, 33-23.

Kamiakin’s boys outscored Richland, 37-23.

The team scores are in head-to-head format and the lowest score wins. The points are given for the number of the finisher and added up for five competitors on each team. For example, a placing of first place would only add one point to the team score.

The meet gives the Wa-Hi boys a league record of 5-2 and the girls 6-1 with one league meet remaining in October.

The league champions earn a trophy, but the district and regional meets determine who advances depending on times in those races alone.

The cross country coaches poll has Richland’s girls ranked No. 6 in the 4A state ranks, and Kamiakin No. 4 in 3A state.

The boys side has Kamiakin ranked No. 2 in 3A state.

In the race in Walla Walla, Wa-Hi’s Sean Newcomb and Courtney Cox took home fifth-place finishes in their respective divisions.

Newcomb, a senior, clocked a time of 15 minutes, 55.5.

Cox, a sophomore, finished with a time of 19:08.8.

“Courtney is our No. 1 girls’ runner,” Wa-Hi coach Michael Locati said. “But you take away any of our top five runners off the girls’ team and we wouldn’t be the same.”

Taking home 10th-place finishes in each division were Ben Wolpert and Rachel Nelson.

Wolpert (16.23.8) did well, but isn’t “quite at full strength yet due to injury,” Locati said. “Sean Newcomb and Ben Wolpert are two of the top 10 boys in our league for sure.”

Nelson had a time of 19:55.1 in the race. Finishing right behind her in 11th and 15th places were Hannah Hampson (20:00.9) and Catherine Feistner (20:12.0).

Rounding out the top five for the girls was Lea Davidson with a time of 20:47.5 and a 20th-place finish.

“The girls really competed well,” Locati said. “We have a strong pack of girls that run together and finish together.”

The Wa-Hi boys’ top five included Juan Cortez (16th, 17:14.2), Zach Telfer, (22nd, 17:36.8) and Dan Butler (31st, 18:10.9).

Both teams will compete at the big Nike Pre-Nationals Saturday in Portland.

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