STATE HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course, Pasco
Schedule: Wheelchair division, 9:30 a.m.; Class 2B/1B girls, 10 a.m.; Class 1A girls, 10:30 a.m.; Class 2A girls, 11 a.m.; Class 2B/1B boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 1A boys, noon; Class 3A girls, 12:30 p.m.; Class 4A girls, 1 p.m.; Class 2A boys, 1:30 p.m.; Class 3A boys, 2 p.m.; Class 4A boys, 2:30 p.m.
Tickets: $9 for adults, $7 for children and senior citizens.
Storylines: Mount Rainier’s Jordan McPhee won the 4A girls title last season, covering the 5K course in 17:24.7 – more than 40 seconds faster than Union’s Alexis Fuller. But McPhee faces an uphill battle to repeat from another Union standout – Alexa Efraimson. Efraimson won their West Central District showdown, 17:52 to 18:25. The Papermakers are also the overwhelming favorite for the girls team crown – a year after winning it in 3A. … So is this the year Mead’s Andrew Gardner breaks through for a 4A boys title? The reigning state 1,600- and 3,200-meter champion has been a favorite the past two seasons, but lost. Watch out for Gig Harbor’s Wolfgang Beck, who has the late-race speed to challenge Gardner. … North Central’s Katie Knight, the defending 3A girls champion, won with Efraimson in the field last season – and also defeated her at the Richland Invitational earlier this season. Look for her to defend. … It should be another fabulous duel between Squalicum’s Patrick Gibson (2A boys winner) and Aberdeen’s Poli Baltazar (2A boys runner-up). Gibson won his district in 15:41.6; Baltazar in 15:30.7. … Overall depth should keep the No. 1 Charles Wright Academy boys in the hunt for their first 1A title since 2004. … Led by senior Hailey Bredeson, who won the 2B Southwest District individual title at The Evergreen State College last week, top-ranked Northwest Christian of Lacey is again a favorite to earn its seventh consecutive girls team title.