The Peninsula boys knew they were going to have to fight for a spot to reach the state meet. They placed fifth with 147 points and edged Lakes by two for the final spot to Saturday’s finale at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Seahawks head coach Joel Wingard said getting to the state meet was a big win for the program.
“I thought they competed really well today, and it paid off for them, so that’s going to be a really boost for them,” Wingard said. “There’s only one senior in that group, and the two alternates are freshmen, so this is still a really young team. Five of them are sophomores. This is really critical. Being in the state meet this year, we’ll be able to build on that for the next two years.”
Sophomore Dominic Lauer was the first Peninsula runner to cross the finish line, placing 11th in 17 minutes, 16.15 seconds.
“I was really happy with my start today,” Lauer said. “I got out fast, and I was happy with that. Being out in front at the start, it’s easier to go with them and not have to catch up.”
Immediately after the race, Wingard wasn’t sure if the boys had qualified or not, but he was proud of their effort.
“We ran really well,” Wingard said. “I think they raced really well, which is what you do. The problem with cross country, you get hung up in times, the weather gets crappy at the end of the season, when you’re probably at your fittest. All you can do is race.”
Without as much drama, Peninsula finished second with 44 points on the girls side, falling three points shy of Prairie. Senior Nicole Goecke from Prairie finished 1:18 ahead of the second-place runner in the race.
Peninsula junior Sarah Manning placed third in 20:03.91. Manning said the team fared well, considering the conditions.
“Our goal is just to see every girl in front of us in sight, so if they’re slowing down, then we can catch up,” Manning said. “But everyone did so awesome for the weather conditions.”
Manning mentioned the wind, which had an effect on all the runners.
“I don’t even know where the wind is coming from,” she said. “I feel like it’s coming from every angle.”
Senior McKenzi Bravo came in seventh with a time of 20:21.28 and said she isn’t at full strength yet. She was proud of how the team raced.
“Sarah and Emma did terrific,” Bravo said. “It looked like we were doing good. I was not feeling very good — I’m coming off a cold. I think we’ll be in better health by next week, though.