KELSO — Luke Lund admits he’s better known for his fast start to races and holding pace throughout rather than a kick at the end.
Yet Thursday, the Prairie High sophomore even surprised himself when he was all alone winning the 3A district cross country title by 16 seconds.
“I thought it’d be neck and neck at the finish,” Lund said.
Thursday’s conditions at Kelso High School were to Lund’s liking. It came not long after a 15-minute downpour from the girls varsity race that left the course saturated and filled with puddles.
No problem, Lund said, to capture his first first-place finish of his cross-country career. He completed the 2.95-mile course in 15 minutes, 40 seconds, which bested not only his time, but placing from a year ago as a freshman on the same course (16:29, fifth).
“I like running in the rain,” he said. “I got really excited.”
Lund’s winning time helped the Falcons take the boys team title with 39 team points, as Prairie had four runners — Isaac Moulton (sixth), Sheldon Galipeau (eighth) and Ty Kneeshaw (10th) placed in the top 10.
Lund knew, too, he had stiff competition entering Thursday with Fort Vancouver’s Drew Weber and Mountain View’s Shun Yamaguchi as strong contenders. So when Lund saw his opportunity to pass Yamaguchi with about a mile left on the course, he made his move — and with a lot left in the tank, too. Weber and Yamaguchi finished second and third, respectively.
Looking ahead to next week’s Westside Classic, where the top four teams and top 28 individual runners advance from Thursday’s district meet, Lund said couldn’t be more pleased with where his training is at because he’s peaking at the right time.
And that’s why he’s hoping to earn his first trip to state Nov. 4 in Pasco.
“It’s the best it’s ever been,” he said.