Toppenish cross country ends on high note with three state qualifiers

The Top-Hi cross country team finished the season strong by sending three boys runners to the Nov. 9 state meet.

Senior Haiden Drury, competing in his fourth state meet, placed 30th overall in 16:36. Senior Jack Whitefoot crossed the line in 120th place with a time of 17:36, and junior Andrew Sandoval was 144th in 18:03.

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“This year was exciting because we had three individuals qualify, which is the most we’ve had since I’ve been the coach,” Wildcats coach Anthony Perez said. “Overall, it wasn’t our best race of the season, but the kids competed hard to the end.”

Sophomores Gabriel Valdez and Adam Myers accompanied the three qualifiers to Pasco, and will be looking to lead the team next year, along with Sandoval.

The Wildcats also ran well at the Nov. 2 district/regional meet, taking fifth place as a team. Drury placed sixth on the three-mile course in a time of in 15:34, followed by Sandoval (16:33, 26th) and Whitefoot (16:36, 28th). Valdez took 36thplace with a time of 16:53, while junior Noe Romero (17:35, 54th), senior Oliver Piel (17:51, 61st) and Myers (17:59, 64th) rounded out the varsity results.

In the girls district meet, the Wildcats opted to compete in the JV race, with freshman Vanessa Carriedo leading the way in 21:38, good for ninth place. Senior Joanna Valdez was 11th in a time of 21:55, while sophomore Natalie Villanueva was 18th in 22:08.

Freshmen Bree Peters (23:19), Natalia Sanchez (23:24) and Betzaida Valladares (23:27) finished 28th, 29th and 30th, respectively.