Kamiak girls finish strong at state championships | Cross country

Freshman standout takes seventh place
By David Pan | Nov 07, 2018
Courtesy of: Paul Kirkpatrick Kamiak’s Leah Clark, Emma Arceo and Alicia Anderson display their invitations to the annual Border Clash after finishing 15th, seventh and ninth at the 4A state cross country championships Saturday,  Nov. 3, at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. The top runners from Washington and Oregon race in the Border Clash on Saturday, Nov. 17, in Oregon.

As two Kamiak veterans closed out their high school careers, a new face emerged at the state girls cross country championships.

Freshman Emma Arceo finished seventh at the 4A meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

Seniors Alicia Anderson and Leah Clark also ran strong races, placing ninth and 15th, respectively.

The state meet capped a successful postseason for all three runners, especially Arceo, who took fifth at the Wesco championships and third at the district meet.

“It was very exciting,” Arceo said of her seventh-place state finish. “I wasn’t really expecting it. … My goal from districts was to make it to state and do the best I could do at state and run as hard as I could.”

The three Knights helped each other out in Saturday’s race.

“The three of them were in the top 10, pretty much all together, though not next to each other all the way,” Kamiak coach Charley LeWarne said.

Arceo said that she was feeling more excitement rather than stress about competing in her first state championship race.

“My teammates Alicia and Leah, they were constantly pushing me through the race,” Arceo added.

Anderson was leading the second pack in the race for the first mile and Arceo was right with her.

“We started to kind of disperse a little bit,” Arceo said. “We got into our own groove. I tried to stick with Alicia. I knew I could run with her.”

Arceo completed the race in 18 minutes, 55.40 seconds with Anderson clocking in at 18:57.80 and Clark coming in at 19:09.80.

“Those are three of our top four all-time girl performances,” LeWarne noted. “It was a little surreal. They did what they did all season, which was be together at the front of the pack. … The seniors, they ran well last year as juniors, but both came away with a little bit more to settle with the state meet. They went in with that attitude and carried the freshman along. ... To have all of them all together was pretty spectacular.”

The Kamiak freshman has fit in well with her older teammates

“They’re all pretty good friends,” LeWarne said. “That really manifested itself on Saturday.”

The Wesco meet gave Arceo a confidence boost at the start of the postseason. Anderson, Clark and Arceo finished third, fourth and fifth with about seven seconds separating the three.

“I was right on Leah’s tail,” Arceo said. “They (Anderson and Clark) have just been my inspiration. I always try to train as hard as they do.”

LeWarne described Arceo as a mature and sophisticated runner.

“She has pretty good speed. She is confidant and bold as well,” LeWarne said. “The last three weeks she put together all the different components.”

Bellarmine Prep freshman Ella Borsheim won the girls race in 17:36.10 and was followed by Issaquah sophomore Julia David-Smith. Glacier Peak captured the team title with 77 points. Lewis and Clark (103) and Camas (107) were second and third. The Grizzlies’ top finisher was senior Samantha Boyle, who placed 14th, just ahead of Clark.

Kamiak sophomores Carp Mukai and Jason Blinn finished 69th and 105th in their state debuts in the boys race.

Arceo started running cross country in middle school but her main sport at the time was soccer.

“I used to do cross country as a pastime,” she said.

The club soccer team Arceo played on eventually disbanded. When she entered high school, Arceo had to make a decision on whether to run cross county or play soccer.

“She made a great decision,” LeWarne said.

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