King’s Smith runs away with state title | Cross country

Junior standout captures Knights’ first individual girls crown since 2007, leads team to a second-place finish at 1A meet
By David Pan | Nov 08, 2018
Courtesy of: Rod Wilcox King’s Naomi Smith finished first at the 1A state girls cross country championships Saturday, Nov. 3, at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

King’s Naomi Smith likes to go out hard and lead the pack.

But those plans didn’t materialize at the start of the 1A state girls cross country championships.

Instead Colville’s Alaina Stone sprinted out to the lead and was setting a blistering pace.

“Right at the beginning I was second by a little bit more than I was comfortable with,” Smith said.

King’s coach Rod Wilcox told Smith that she needed to be ready for the unexpected.

“I told her before the race that someone is going to come out and surprise you,” Wilcox said. “Be ready for it.”

Smith was.

“I settled into a groove. I definitely got less nervous as the race went on,” Smith said. “I couldn’t control my competition. I could control myself.”

Smith caught up with Stone and passed her at the mile mark and then pulled away to win her first state title Saturday, Nov. 3, at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

The King’s junior finished in 18 minutes, 16.70 seconds, more than 10 seconds ahead of Stone, who clocked in at 18:27.30.

“All that hard work was worth it,” Smith said. “It’s a good feeling to see it all pay off for sure.”

Smith is the first King’s runner to win an individual state girls title since Olivia Thomas finished first in 2007.

“I saw a dominating runner who dominated,” Wilcox said of Smith.

The junior standout came into Saturday’s race as the favorite but she was able to handle whatever pressure she was feeling.

“I think I just went into it thinking that I was going to run the best race I could,” Smith said.

“She’s such a mature person,” Wilcox said. “She was going to go out there and execute her plan. We never talked about her winning it. We talked about her running her best.”

As the race progressed, Smith said that she wanted to be even with Stone at the mile mark.

“I passed her,” Smith said.

Smith didn’t look back until about the two-mile mark and saw that she had a lead but that Stone was still hanging with her.

“She was definitely still there,” Smith said.

The King’s girls also came home with some hardware, placing second. Lakeside (Nine Mile) won the team title with 108 points and the Knights were second with 114. Freshman Campbell Baker placed 24th and senior Greta Gunning was 44th. Senior Alexandra Christophilis finished 49th and junior Jenae McInnes was 66th. Baker and Christophilis both set personal records, on a course that most observers describe as difficult.

“We were just happy to be there and happy to be running together,” Smith said.

FRESHMAN SHINES: King’s freshman Nick LeBar finished 20th in the 1A boys cross country race. Senior Anthony Hart finished 24th. Freshman Hiroto Nasu placed 52nd and senior Pierce Papke took 66th. The Knights placed seventh overall.

in the team competition.

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