The Clark College women’s cross country team simply ran away with the NWAACC title.
The Penguins finished on top of the 11-team field Saturday at Oregon City, winning by 24 points over second-place Spokane.
“It was a total surprise,” said Clark coach Ryan Hovde, who was named women’s cross country coach of the year. “Everytime we crunched the numbers, we thought it would be close. The widest margin was like seven points. But it was much more than that today.”
Briel Thoune, a Prairie High grad, led a 3-4-5 finish for the Penguins. Her time over the 5,000-meter course was 18 minutes, 51.49 seconds.
Shawna Schooley of Everett won the race in 18:29.41.
Following Thoune was Holly Meler, a Columbia River grad, in 18:53.08, and Tamara Kulla, a La Center grad, in 19:00.18.
“They stepped up huge today,” Hovde said. “We were never in it the first mile-and-a-half, but then just poured it on.”
Katarina Mueller, a Mountain View grad, and Shelby Beaudoin, a Prairie grad, placed 10th and 19th to round out the Penguins’ team score. Angela Gula, a Heritage grad, was 27th.
The Clark men’s team finished in fourth place, just seven points behind third-place Lane. Spokane won the team title.
A hip injury to Cameron Falkner during the race made it tough on the Penguins in their quest to reach the top three team spots.
“With five guys, you can only do so much,” Hovde said. “So if one goes down, you don’t have anyone to replace him. But I’m impressed with how our guys ran.”
Jared O’Brien was the top Clark finisher in 13th place. His time on the 8K course was 26:43. Teammate Nathan Richards was 14th in 26:44.
Anthony Brown of Spokane won the race in 25:19.88.
Completing Clark’s score was Walker Riley in 29th, Falkner in 30th, and Nathan Perry in 38th.
The Clark men’s soccer team lost to Highline 1-0 on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the NWAACC playoffs in Vancouver.
No details were reported from the match.
Clark finishes it season with an 11-3-4 record.