The Brookings-Harbor High School cross country team put its best foot forward at the Far West League championship run held at Tugman State Park on Thursday, but the shoe didn’t fit and neither the girls team nor the boys team qualified for the state tournament.
“It was a tough day,” Head Coach Terry Axel said. “They were flat. There were a couple of highlights but I just don’t know.”
Two of the Bruin runners were dealing with back issues, one was recovering from a cold and two had been stung by wasps the night before the meet.
“They were really on last week,” Axel said. “Today, I just don’t know what happened.”
The team is graduating only four seniors, Diondre Runyon and Nick Ensley from the boys squad and Jessica Fernandez and Roxanne Gothard from the girls side.
Axel is excited by the prospects for next season’s team.
“If everybody comes out and commits to it, they’ll be good,” he said. “That’s what it takes, I can’t coach their desire. If they want to put in the time, I’ve got incredibly good, young runners.”
The girls’ squad was led by Shaylin Curtis who ran the course in 21:28.53.
The time was just 10 seconds off her best time for the season and got her a seventh place medal, but failed to qualify her for the state tournament.
“I’m really happy for Shaylin,” Axel said. “I know she doesn’t feel good about her run because she wanted to go to state, but she ran really well for someone who is recovering from a cold.”
Fernandez finished 19th overall with a time of 23:01.69, and was followed 31 seconds later by Brandi Rodgers with a time of 23:32.81.
Gothard turned in a time of 26:10.40 for a 28th-place finish and Mikaela Lea finished in 26:22.23 for 29th.
Gothard and Fernandez both ran season-best times at the district race.
Kyle Gordon finished in the top spot for BHHS with a time of 18:36.68 but came in a disappointing 18th overall.
“I felt pretty terrible,” Gordon said. “I didn’t feel like I could get a good solid pace going, and I didn’t feel competitive.”
Gordon was followed by teammates Shane Graham, 19:13.74, and Ronnie Manley, 19:28.21, who took 24th and 25th respectively.
Graham and fellow freshman Dylan Hiller, 32nd, 20:43.20 set personal bests for the season at the district championships.
Sean Graham finished 31st with a time of 20:29.21; Nick Ensley, 33rd, 21:15.55 and Alec McBride, 34th, 21:19.45.
“I think the team did pretty well,” Gordon said after the race. “I’m sure if we could go back and fix it we could improve, but we really pushed hard and we didn’t quit.
“We didn’t give up.”
According to Gordon, he’ll be back next season after putting some new workouts into place and keeping up with his running during the off-season.
“Terry has been really good to us,” he explained. “To quit would be like stabbing him in the back.”