YAKIMA, Wash. —We’ve had a fair number of individual state champions in cross country over the years, but there’s no denying the Valley has experienced a bit of a dry spell in that regard lately.
Two-time winner Alexis Redfield of Zillah has been our lone champion in the last 11 years, and Selah’s James Currell has been our only boys champion since 2001.
Saturday, however, could be something special with three strong senior candidates for the top of the podium at Sun Willows Golf Course.
Ellensburg’s Leah Holmgren, who owns two top-five finishes in Pasco, will toe the line for the 2A girls race at 11 a.m. She broke the Apple Ridge course record last week, running 17:35 for three miles, and she clocked a 2A-best 17:58 for 5,000 meters a month ago.
Selah’s Shea Mattson thrust himself into the 2A boys spotlight with last week’s 16-second victory over defending state champion Eliason Kabasenche of Pullman. In doing so, Mattson broke a 13-year-old course record on his home venue at Apple Ridge. The rematch is set for 12:30 p.m.
The day’s final race is the 4A boys at 3 p.m., when Eisenhower’s Jonas Price puts his unbeaten season on the line in pursuit of his eagerly sought prize — the Valley’s first boys champion at the 4A or AAA level. The Cadets have had three second-place finishes, including Price a year ago.
The Valley qualified nine teams, including Eisenhower, Ellensburg, Selah and Goldendale with double entries, and 94 total runners spanning 12 races.
The forecast is mostly cloudy with a high of 51 degrees and a light breeze. Nice.
Just in time
After missing out by one point last year, Selah’s girls are returning to Pasco on Saturday thanks in large part to one seriously determined senior, Nicole DeHerrera.
Sidelined by a tibia fracture that ended her track season in mid-April, DeHerrera was inactive until July before started back with light cross training. She wasn’t cleared to practice with the team until Sept. 16 and didn’t have a normal week of training until a month ago.
Nevertheless, DeHerrera looked as good as new last Saturday, placing third in the regional meet and leading the Vikings to fourth place. Her time of 18:20 was 17 seconds faster than last year, a week before she made the state podium in 15th.
Bump, set, rest
Fresh off the program’s 10th straight league title, West Valley’s seventh-ranked volleyball team better make the most of Saturday’s CBBN district championship match.
It’s likely all the action the Rams will see for three weeks.
Wrapping up league play on Oct. 31, West Valley will host Wenatchee for the district title and top seed to state at noon on Saturday. After that, the 4A state tournament in the SunDome isn’t until Nov. 22-23 with Yakima hosting two weeks of tournaments.
Last year the CBBN used a different district format with the Rams playing a semifinal and final on the same day, and then West Valley had only eight days until the start of state.
In the two league meetings with Wenatchee, WV won 3-0 and 3-1. The loser of the district championship will play either Moses Lake or Eastmont for the CBBN’s second state berth.
As Prosser’s sophomore quarterback Kaiden Rivera slings it all over the yard for 2,032 yards in nine games, there’s something working in the young man’s favor — a diversity of targets.
Seven receivers have at least 15 catches for the district champion Mustangs, who have a bye this week along with Ellensburg leading into the first round of the state playoffs next week.
Will Thompson (28 receptions), Anthony Kernan (27), Logan Candanoza (25), Brock Weinmann (23) and Diego Chavez (20) have spread the field for Rivera and they have plenty of experience doing it as only Weinmann is an underclassman.
Addie Mitchell was at it again last Saturday, showing off her incredible recovery skills at the CBBN district swim finals.
The Eisenhower sophomore cranked out career bests in the 200 free (2:00.47, with a 57.42 100 en route) and 500 free (5:27.91), and less than 10 minutes after the 500 she anchored Ike’s 200 free relay with a 25.7 split — which was enough to beat Moses Lake and Eastmont for the first time this season and earn the Cadets a state berth.
To finish off the afternoon, Mitchell anchored Ike to third place in the 400 free relay with a 55.9 split. The Cadets might get this relay to state on a wildcard but will have to wait until the other district meets are contested this weekend.
Waiting and wondering
Football teams at East Valley, Selah, La Salle and Zillah all had to wait for tiebreaker results this week to find out who they play on Friday.
The GNL had a three-team tiebreaker for second place on Tuesday and Pullman prevailed, sending the Greyhounds to Othello for a winner-to-state crossover. That set up the other two non-playoff crossovers with West Valley-Spokane at Selah — an hour early at 6 p.m. — and East Valley-Yakima at Cheney.
The SCAC East had to resolve its No. 3-4 seeds with a tiebreaker on Monday and Warden, which started 1-3 in league, beat River View and Kiona-Benton to earn a trip to West runner-up Zillah. RV then eliminated Ki-Be to grab the No. 4 spot and a trip to West champion and second-ranked La Salle.
From the note file
• Saturday’s first semifinal in the SCAC district volleyball tournament at Granger features Goldendale vs. Zillah at 11 a.m. Both of their West Division matches went five sets with the Timberwolves winning the fifth 15-11 both times.
• Grandview senior quarterback Rocco Parrish threw for 273 yards last week against Ephrata, making him the Greyhounds’ career leader in passing yards with 3,748. Parrish overtook Matt Concienne’s 2007 tally of 3,732. Grandview finishes its season on Friday hosting Wahluke.
• Novie McCabe of Liberty Bell passed on a chance at a fourth straight state cross country title (2B-1B) to prepare for her winter on the U.S. Nordic Ski Team.