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Cross country / Inglemoor, Bothell runners are rolling
Inglemoor High assistant coach Kelly Richards said cross-country runners never get a break — races are never scrapped or delayed due to poor weather conditions. “I’ve run them in the snow before,” she noted with a laugh.
Last Wednesday, the rain poured throughout the day, but subsided about two hours before the start of the Northshore meet between Inglemoor, Bothell and Woodinville at Big Finn Hill Park near Kenmore. While the sky may have been somewhat clear, the 3.1-mile course that cut through the woods was still soaked in some areas.
“We had to fight through some tough spots out there. It was really muddy — we had to run through a river,” said Bothell’s Alan Villavicencio. “You have to really watch your step. I almost fell and slipped a couple of times. I think some guys out there hurt themselves — it’s a tough sport.”
Added Inglemoor’s Ashley Nichols: “You can’t go around the puddles or you’ll fall. You have to go right through.”
Nichols led from start to finish to take the girls’ crown in 20 minutes, 41 seconds while Bothell’s Kevin Holmes won the boys’ race in 16 minutes, 55 seconds. In the team standings, Woodinville’s girls took first with 33 points (followed by Inglemoor with 40 and Bothell with 48); on the boys’ side, Bothell’s 1-2 punch of Holmes and Villavicencio led the Cougars to first with 29 points (Inglemoor and Woodinville took second and third with 34 and 72 points, respectively).
Holmes and Villavicencio took control of the race early and never looked back.
“It’s great, I feel strong,” Holmes said afterward. “I just love running. I love the feeling after a race that you get — there’s nothing like it.”
Nichols, who — like Holmes — is a successful distance runner during track season, was well prepared for last week’s race and knew she’d have some stiff competition.
“I’ve run the course a couple of times before, so I knew the ins and outs,” said Nichols. “I was able to get a little bit ahead on the hills, so I was able to pull ahead and I ran a strong race.”
Inglemoor boys captain Ryan Rinaldi, who helped lead his team to a first-place finish at the recent Tomahawk Twilight Meet at Cedarcrest Golf Club in Marysville, said running a challenging course brings out the best in everyone.
“It’s a little bit more tactical, when to pass and stuff and when to surge. It’s basically just running your hardest,” Rinaldi said, adding about his favorite part of cross country: “It’s a completely purist sport — it’s less skill and more effort. Whoever puts more out there is gonna win.”
For Nichols, she thrives on “knowing what you put into it goes into that race day.”
The Bothell and Inglemoor runners feel they get the best of both worlds while running cross country: the team and individual experience.
Villavicencio doubly knows all about the team effort since he plays soccer for Bothell, as well.
“You kind of get attached to the team,” he said while first-placer Holmes wholly agreed with a nod and a smile.