Colville cross-country team gears for post-season

It was a short drive down Highway 395 to the manicured fairways of the Chewelah Golf & Country Club last Tuesday for Colville High’s cross-country team. It took even less time than the drive for the local harriers to dispatch the over-matched Cougars. Under mostly sunny skies, the late afternoon confrontation between the Cougars and Indians provided little suspense, but was long on entertainment as both teams struggled to navigate the sparsely marked, tree-lined course. In the boy’s race, the Indians stepped up to the starting line facing one of the youngest and least experienced cross-country squads in Washington. With 17 freshmen, Chewelah Coach, Pat Kosteka, is focusing the Cougars’ season on learning and conditioning, with an eye to the future. Colville dominates With the first mile completed, Colville had taken a commanding lead, holding down the top 12 places. Leading the way for the Indians was Biagio Pietroburgo. Coming back from a week off, the senior, according to Coach Dean Fischer, “Didn’t miss a step.” Following Pietroburgo over the mostly flat Chewelah Golf & Country Club course were a host of CHS runners, including front-runners Kevin Carpenter, Dylan Schanz and Roman Korovnik. At the 2.5-mile mark, Colville had extended their dominance with the leaders out front by over two minutes. “Yeah, we set the pace, but Chewelah is young and has some talented young runners,” Colville assistant coach Dale Wilson said. “If they stick with Coach Kosteka’s plan, they will be competitive not that far down the road. At the finish, it was a long line of Colville cardinal and white rolling into the chute. In order of finish for the boys it was: Pietroburgo, 16:49; Carpenter, 17:12; Korovnik, 17:40; Schanz, 18:10; Jay Shoemaker, 18:21; Chris Lane, 18:25; Aric Beers, 18:37; Ethan Cabbage, 18:45; Noah Baum, 18:47; Emet Mmorehouse, 19:11; Elijah Michaelson, 20:38; Brandon Lytle, 20:44; Reece Johnson, 20:57. The first 13 runners to cross the finish line were from Colville. Finishing 15th was Colville’s Hunter Clift in a time of 21:16. Colville’s Chris Benson finished 16th (21:27). Price wins On the reverse ticket, the Chewelah girls appeared ready to run with Colville’s women. Squaring off for the second time in just three days, Colville’s Alison Price and Chewelah’s Christina Hall exited the gate, with Hall taking a quick 30-meter advantage. At the Bullpup Invite at Finch Arboretum in Spokane a few short days earlier, Hall had used a quick start to put Price away by 26 seconds. However, this was Tuesday and Hall was struggling to maintain her lead over the first two miles, while Price ran comfortably in second place, holding her position. With just over a mile left in the race, Price made a move that took her past Hall, leaving the fleet-footed Chewelah senior unable to respond. Price finished the race running comfortably out front, crossing the finish line at 20:39. Further back, at the halfway mark, the race was beginning to look like a Cougar upset in the making. Chewelah’s Carrissa Hall, the younger sister of Christina, was holding on to a ten-meter lead over the Indian’s Jill Fenno, despite Fenno’s pressing the pace. Following Fenno it was Chewelah’s Jazmyn Elliot and Moriah Hudson running ahead of the Indian’s Nyshel Pease. “I was pretty concerned at the halfway point,” conceded Coach Fischer. “We had to have somebody make a move in order to salvage this one.” The move Fischer wanted eventually came from Fenno. Fenno seized the opportunity when the younger Hall missed a turn. Fenno used the miscue to quickly close, and eventually move past on her way to third place in 22:41. Fenno’s finish left the Cougars with no room for any more errors in their race plan. Next in were Chewelah’s Elliot and Hudson. “Nyshel has had a hard time getting over her knee problems,” Fischer explained. “Her times over the past couple of weeks have been just a bit off what we know she is capable of. However, she is an extremely tough kid and always gives you her best every race. I know she is working hard to get the bugs out of her race before Regionals.” Pease, finishing in sixth place, posted a time of 24:26, leading teammates Hannah Johnson (24:46) and Aubrey Rogers (25:10) across the line and putting a close-match-up in the win column for the Indians. Rounding out Colville’s day was Savannah Smith (29:53). THIS WEEK On Tuesday, Colville will travel to Riverside to take on the Rams. The venue remains a mystery that the Rams may not reveal until race day. The site of more than a few Riverside hosted cross-country meets, Bear Lake, could be the venue. Stay tuned. While the Riverside boys continue to struggle, the Riverside girls, the defending 1A State champion, is ranked first in Washington and primed to defend a title next month at Pasco’s Sun Willows Golf Course. According to Fischer, “Riverside is always competitive. Even when they may look like they are struggling, they seem to pull a rabbit out of their hat for Colville. “Their girls are very good and I am sure that they will throw everything they got at us,” Fischer said. “This is the final run before Regional for both teams. Win or lose, we want to set up our Regional race here.” Following the Riverside match-up, the Indians will be idle until the regional meet between the NEA and the Caribou-Trail League on Oct. 29 at Plantes Ferry Park in the Spokane Valley.