When Clare Kondrat entered Pope John Paul II High School four years ago the Eagles were just starting their girls cross country program. She will leave a two-time state champion in the sport.
Led by Kondrat, who finished fifth overall, Pope John Paul II secured its second Class 1B/2B girls state cross country championship over the last three years by claiming the team title at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco on November 6.
“They went out and ran the way we hoped they would run from beginning to end,” Pope John Paul II Head Coach Larry Weber said. “Our theme all year has been the last 1,000 (kilometers). It’s in that last 1,000 that we want them to push themselves as hard as they can and pass runners, and they executed exactly that today.”
While the girls squad took the top prize, the Eagles boys team didn’t leave the Tri-Cities emptied handed as they secured second-place with senior Trevor Dugo placing sixth.
Additional top five finishes at the state championship meet by local runners included Olympia senior Ethan Coleman placing second in the boys 4A classification, Northwest Christian freshman Madison Ingram finishing third in the girls 1B/2B race, and Northwest Christian junior Asher Ingram getting up for third at the 1B/2B boys championships.
The Pope John Paul II girls team had four runners place in the top 20, helping the Eagles finish with a team score of 46, which was able to edge runner-up Liberty Bell (59 points). Kondrat, who also won the Sea-Tac League and Tri-District championships this season, covered the distance in 20 minutes, 1.3 seconds to notch her third top 20 state placing during her high school career as she also finished ninth as a sophomore and 19th as a freshman.
The Eagles received a 9th-place finish from junior Catelin King (20:51.70) and a 10th from freshman Isabella Salvador (20:57.6). Senior Isabella Friedline (21:25.9) and freshman Adeline Hecht (21:31.7) ran 16th and 18th, respectively, for Pope John Paul II. Junior Moriah Steinbrecher, who placed 21st among the 77 state participants, and sophomore Taylor Ames, who finished 35th overall, rounded out the runners for the Eagles.
The Pope John Paul II girls also made a second trip to the podium as they were honored as the 1B/2B state academic champions. The team finished with an overall GPA of 3.96.
“Honestly, it was a very heartfelt moment for everyone on that podium. There were tears,” Weber said. “The girls just did tremendous all season and they had so much support from all the parents. It really was a great way to end the season and something everyone involved will always remember.”
Northwest Christian’s Madison Ingram capped her stellar first season for the Wolverines by stopping the clock in 19:50.1 in the 1B/2B girls championship, while the Rainier girls team placed seventh overall at the meet with senior Selena Niemi placing 13th (21:10).
The Pope John Paul II boys finished as the highest-placing 1B school at the 1B/2B meet with 96 points. Liberty Bell, a 2B program, was first with 50. It marked the third runner-up finish at the state championships for the Eagles, who also placed second in 2018 and 2019. Dugo, who posted a time of 16:59.10, was followed by teammates Luke Christensen, who finished 24th (17:52.8) and Samuel Rucker (26th, 17:55.6).
Asher Ingram of Northwest Christian made a late run to place third with a time of 16:50.7, less than 20 seconds behind winner Daniel Quintana of Ilwaco. Ingram was 11th at the one-mile mark and fifth at the two-mile marker before reeling in runners in the final stages to register the top 3 finish.
Olympia’s Coleman, who won last year’s 4A virtual state championship and posted one of the nation’s top times this season, finished the 4A championship meet in 15:32.6. Kamiakin senior Isaac Teeples won the race with a time of 14:57.8.
Coleman entered the state championships a perfect 8-for-8 this season with victories coming at the South Puget Sound 4A championships and Westside Classic District 3-4 championships. The future University of Notre Dame runner controlled the field through the first mile, hitting the mark at 4:38.4, and the second mile (9:38.3), but Teeples sat right behind him before pulling away over the final mile.
Coleman leaves the Bears as the program’s record holder at the 5K distance (14:39.2) with his top time this season of 14:40.2, which he set during his winning run at the 14th Annual Nike Twilight Cross Country Invitational, being the best mark in the state this year regardless of classification.
Coleman’s performance helped the Olympia boys finish 11th overall as a team in the 4A ranks. Also running for the Bears was seniors George Merrifield, Riley Smith, Asher Coppin and Brady Elliott and juniors Owen Windrope and Danny Pree.
Capital’s Aubrey Harrington was eighth in the girls 3A state championship. The senior posted her second-fastest mark ever at the distance with a time 18:54.7.
The Yelm boys were 10th as a team at the 3A meet with junior Zachary Walsh (29th, 16:45.7) and senior Ryan Lange (30th, 16:45.8) leading the Tornado runners, while Timberline senior Emmit Douglas was third (19:21.9) in the state ambulatory championships.
Tumwater was seventh as a team in the 2A boys championship. Junior John Hoffer placed seventh for the Thunderbirds, crossing the wire in 16:17.1.