Auburn Riverside boys take ninth at state 4A meet | Cross Country

Everybody knew what Julian-Blake Cowan was capable of at the state cross country meet last Saturday in Pasco.

Everybody knew what Julian-Blake Cowan was capable of at the state cross country meet last Saturday in Pasco.

The Auburn Riverside senior, a four-time state competitor, delivered as usual, snatching a third-place finish in the 4A division by blistering the 3.1-mile course in 15 minutes, 27 seconds, his best state time.

However, it was the rest of the Auburn Riverside squad, including junior Kenny Krotzer, who delivered the real surprise.

Krotzer, who finished fifth at the Westside Classic District meet, posted a 15:55 time at the state meet, grabbing a 14th-place finish.

As a team, the Ravens took home ninth place out of 16 teams with 224 points.

“I really was pleased,” coach Bill Sumner said. “We kind of came in ranked by a lot of people as an ‘other.’ We knew we had a couple of good runners in Julian and Kenny Krotzer. Otherwise, we’re pretty young. I was pretty pleased and excited with a ninth-place finish.”

For Krotzer, the finish at the state meet marked a personal-best time, and a significant improvement over the 17:25 he ran at last year’s 3A meet.

“I’m really pleased with how it turned out,” he said. “I was trying to get (into the) top 20, so getting 14th was just amazing.

“I broke 16 minutes at a meet during the season at Tahoma,” Krotzer added. “But I beat that by two seconds at state.”

According to Krotzer, the big meets just bring out the best in him.

“I definitely run faster,” he said. “During dual meets, I don’t run very fast but at the bigger meets I’m kind of drawn along with the pack and run way faster.”

Also helping the Ravens along to their ninth-place finish were: sophomore Jeff Miles, who was 75th; junior Nate Gesell, who was 105th; sophomore Nick Lawrence, who was 109th; junior Hunter Cowan, who took 126th; and freshman Terry Kriss, who was 134th out of 142 competitors.

According to Krotzer and Sumner, the finish and youth on the team bode well for next season.

“Even when I look down at the other kids on the team – some sophomores who we brought along so they could run the course on Friday and see what the state meet is like – I get excited,” Sumner said. “We’re a real young team and we’re already excited about next year. And that’s always good. We’re definitely ending the season on a real high note.”

Of course, they will have to do it without Cowan who graduates this year.

“I’m definitely looking forward to next year,” Krotzer said. “Six of seven are returning. We’re losing Blake (Julian-Blake Cowan) who is one of the best in the state, if not the country. But I think we can all come together next year. We’re hoping for a top finish at state.”

“He’s going to be big loss,” Sumner agreed. “He’s shown the team how to be one of the top kids in the country. They see how many miles he has to put in during the week to become a good runner. It always helps to have the good runners to help out with the rest of the team.”

ALSO: Thomas Jefferson grabbed 10th in the 4A girls competition. The Raiders, who were keyed by the 46th and 47th place finishes of Lacey Printz and Camryn Patrick, respectively, scored 228 points. The team was rounded out by: Vanessa Bennum, 75th place; Monica Jaenicke, 88th place; Rosemary Angeles, 106th place; Vanessa Church, 127th place; and Leah Kiyohara, 131st place out of 148 competitors. … Auburn Riverside senior Kelsey Loomans finished the state course in 115th place with a 20:53 time. … At the 3A division meet, Auburn Mountainview finished 16th in the team finish with 357 points. Senior Seth Rumbaugh paced the Lions with a 73rd place finish and a 17:04 time. Teammate Matt Link was a second behind in 75th place. Also finishing for the Lions were; Nick Lipinski, 101st place; Derrick Hirschi, 106th place; Garrett Kline, 115th place; Dylan Summerlin, 124th place; and Matt Anderson, 137th place. The state meet was the first for Auburn Mountainview as a team.