The Iliad/ Luke Beckwith
Left: Seniors Jarett Chinn, Tyler Neal, Kyle Kesler, Michael Downs, Zach Kraft, and Cameron Hirsh
MASON KERN/Sports Editor
Poway High has a history of competing in big cross country events, including the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California last year. This year the team was looking for a bigger challenge, even outside of California, which led them to take their talents to Seattle, Washington.
Lakewood High School hosted the 33rd annual Nike Hole in the Wall Cross Country Invitational on Oct. 8, which saw teams spanning from Hawaii to British Columbia and even up into Canada— including our own Titans.
At this largest cross country race in Washington State, including college and professional races, the Titans placed extremely well, securing first place for varsity boys, and a respectable 12th place for varsity girls.
“For me, it was one of my better races, but it was our teams’ depth that really helped us prevail and show the state of Washington what Poway Cross Country was really about,” senior Jarett Chinn said.
The boys’ team took first place overall in the 5,000 meter run with a total of 169 points, lower than any other team. The second place team was Glacier Peak with 192 points followed by Camas with 197 points.
Chinn was Poway’s top finisher, placing ninth in a time of 16-minutes, 1.6-seconds. Senior Michael Downs was next at 27th in 16:23.4 and senior Tyler Neal landed 33rd with a personal best of 16:31.3. Senior Gavin Blaine was the biggest surprise coming in at 48th in 16:40.4, which was also a personal best. The same for senior Cameron Hirsch at 67th in 16:57, senior Zach Kraft at 83rd in 17:07.8, and senior Kyle Kesler at 93rd in 17:14.5.
“I was the last choice to go on the trip, and I was expected to finish last on the Poway team for our heat,” Blaine said. “I told myself this was the last time I could run this race, and I ran really well. Nobody there knew of Poway, so I knew we needed to make sure they all remembered our name.”
The girls’ varsity team scored 362 points for their 12th place win. The top three teams included Jesuit with 52 points, Camas with 99 points and Edmonds-Woodway with 110 points.
Katie Downs secured the best time for Poway coming in 48th place with a time of 19-minutes, 30.6-seconds. She was followed by Alex Calegari at 50th in 19:32.4 and then Kinley Williams at 77th in 20:07.6. Sarah Chittle followed immediately after at 78th place in 20:10.7, and freshman Eva Rethmeier at 140th in 21:08.0
“I expected it to be a tough race because many of the top teams from Oregon and Washington were there, and they knew how to run in those conditions,” Kraft said.
The Titans likewise found success at the 69th Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational on Oct. 22, finishing in 13th place. The top runner was again Chinn placing 23rd for the Titans, followed by Downs at 30th and senior Kit Carter at 51st.
They hope to run into CIF with a high seed, and to compete well at the North County Conference Finals on Nov. 12.