Indians busy this week
The Can-Am Cross Country Invitational meet, held annually at the Kettle Falls Recreational Area for over 25 years, featured one of its largest-ever turnouts last Saturday under sunny, warm late September skies.
The field included 17 high school teams and six junior high teams (325 runners).
The highlights for Colville started with Colville Junior High School sixth-grade phenom Kassie Brooks winning the girl’s race by half a second, followed by running newcomer T.J. Braun finishing a close second for the Colville Junior High boys.
Though their were many exciting moments throughout the rest of the races, it wasn’t until the high school varsity boys took to the field along the shores of Lake Roosevelt that Colville was again in the spotlight.
Carpenter runs impressive race
In the first half mile, CHS junior Kevin Carpenter was in the lead pack of 10 runners, including top thinclads from Coeur d’Alene, Riverside, Republic, Chelan and Omak. By mile one, the lanky Carpenter had made his way to the top three as the runners disappeared along the forest trails.
“Kevin is a patient runner,” his coach, Dean Fischer explained. “We have been working on him finishing strong and big and he’s confident enough to believe those front-runners will come back to him. It doesn’t always work that way, but it‘s fun when it does.”
When the lead pack returned to once again run along the torturously slow beach sands, Carpenter was in the lead. By the time he crossed the final wooden bridge, a quarter-mile from the finish, he had extended that lead to 30 meters. Carpenter finished with an 11 second lead and ahead of four Coeur d’Alene High runners with a time of 16:55.
Fischer was impressed with Carpenter’s run on a classic, but difficult cross-country course.
“It’s tough to go under 17 minutes on this course,” Fischer said. “It’s flat, but that sand is brutal. Carpenter has joined an elite group of runners today. ”
Not only was it a quick time, but it was Carpenter’s first cross country win ever after shadowing Colville’s Biagio Peitroburgo (the Regional cross country champion ) last year.
Emmett Morehouse (sophomore) finished second for the varsity boys in 18:43 (a PR of one- minute), followed by junior Noah Baum (18:58).
“Emmett is passionate,” Fischer said. “He wants it. He’s going to get there and Noah is just a pleasant surprise. He has been languishing in the back of the pack for two years and he has just come alive this season. Wow! He got pushed by Joe Weir 19:09 (newcomer junior) most of the way and was able to have a stronger finish. Joe is still learning to what he can do.”
The varsity rounded out with Reese Johnson (19:58), David Lariviere (20:17), and Chris Benson (21:07).
The girl’s varsity race, like the boy’s, was simply dominated by 5A Idaho cross country powerhouse Coeur d’Alene (2011 girls second at State and the CDR boys first).
However, the first place win went to Oroville marvel Sierra Speiker (19:23), followed by all seven of the Coeur d’Alene varsity team in the top ten.
Riverside’s Delaney McMahon and Mikayala Schuler managed to pierce the top ten and break up the CDA juggernaut.
Senior Jill Fenno and junior Nyshel Pease led the Colville female harriers for the first two miles, when Fenno, feeling better than she has in her past two races, finished with a strong 22:45 (a 48 second PR in 21st place). Pease also bettered her time from the previous year with a PR of 23:36. Hannah Johnson (senior) finished third for Colville (25:03). The sophomore duo of Ashlee Beers and Haley Jensen, after pushing each other side by side for most of the race, separated and finished 57th and 59th with times of 25:41 and 26:00, respectively.
“Jensen and Beers like that comfort zone of working together and I think they are figuring out they can be there and also run fast,” Fischer pointed out. “It‘s a work in progress.”
Sara Batchelor rounded out the Colville’s girls team in her second race ever.
Colville’s Hunter Clift and Sean Palmer ran in the JV race. Palmer, a thrower from track, is finding this running stuff otherworldly.
“I can’t believe people work this hard,” he said. Clift ran a huge PR at 20:33 , 1:59 off his 2011 time. Palmer was happy to finish at 22:04 with a huge kick after being passed in his last race in the last three-feet.
The Colville High boys varsity finished third with 112 points. Powerhouse Coeur d’Alene was first with 30 points and Riverside of the Northeast A was a distant second with 108.
Coeur d’ Alene easily won the girl’s varsity race with 23 points. The Vikings outdistanced NEA and Class 1A power Riverside (55), Omak (166), and Chelan (171).
Despite missing some components on Saturday, Fischer wasn’t displeased with the way his team ran along the sands of Lake Roosevelt.
“Considering we were short-handed with some varsity team members AWOL, we held our own,” Fischer said. There is a lot of spirit in this team...small but feisty.”
CHS assistant coach Dale Wilson, who doubled as the meet manager, was profuse in his praise of the team and the support the community gave to the meet.
“We needed a lot of help to run these races,” Wilson said of the big meet. “A lot of people...parents and CHS alumni...volunteered a lot of their time to make this a great event. I want to thank them all. I hope they had as much fun as I did.”
With a four-hour bus ride into the smoky haze of the Snake River bottomlands behind them, Colville High’s road warriors crawled out in Clarkston to their first meet in the new Great Northern League back on Sept. 25. The double dual contest between Colville/East Valley/Clarkston included neighboring Lewiston in the foray.
The JV boys started in the rising heat with Chris Benson, Hunter Clift and Sean Palmer toeing the line. Twenty-minutes later, they climbed out of the Snake River trail with times of 20:21, 21:15, 21:51, respectively.
“These guys aren’t intimidated by these big JV teams and just keep pushing themselves,” said Wilson.
The girl’s varsity looked strong at the start, but soon were swallowed by the larger packs of Lewiston and East Valley runners. Jill Fenno held her own and finished 11th at 22:31. Nyshel Pease and Emma Schanz finished 15 & 16th at 22:46 and 22:51, respectively. Ashlee Beers was 26th (25:02) and Haley Jensen 32nd (25:43).
The girls final score was Clarkson 27/Colville 28, Colville 47/East Valley 16, Clarkston 40/EV 21.
“It was close,” Wilson said. “I thought we could get Clarkston. We will see them again at Districts.”
The CHS boy’s varsity went believing that East Valley was vulnerable. Things don’t always go as planned.
After the gun went off, Carpenter had his hands full with thee East Valley runners surrounding him. Colville’s Morehouse and Dylan Schanz weren’t able to move up to offer support up front as they battled for second tier positions. Carpenter stayed with EV’s Scott Kopczynski for the first two miles, but the pressure from the start rattled his race plans.
The climb out of the river trail on tired legs increased Kopczynski lead and he won in 16:11. Carpenter was second (16:38). Morehouse hit the finish in fifth (17:32) and Schanze was seventh (17:38); Weir 10th (17:54); Jay Shoemaker 13th (18:13); Baum 15th (18:18); Lariviere 22nd (19:150.
Final score: Clarston 44/ EV 17, Clarkston43/ Colville 18, Colville 31/ EV 24.
“East Valley beat us a Plantes Ferry last weekend, but not by much,” coach Fischer pointed out. “We thought with some Colville gumption, we could make an upset. It didn’t happen. That’s why we race.”
On Tuesday, Colville hosted a GNL meet with West Valley and Cheney on the Rotary Trail/Dominion Meadows course.
On Saturday, CHS will be in the field of the big Bullpup Invitational.
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, Colville will return to host Deer Park and Pullman in a GNL three-way meet (4 p.m. start).