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All-Region Girls Cross Country: Charlotte Wilson, Union

By , Columbian Sports Editor
8 Photos
All-Region Girls Cross Country runner of the year, Charlotte Wilson, of Union High School is pictured on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 16, 2023.
All-Region Girls Cross Country runner of the year, Charlotte Wilson, of Union High School is pictured on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 16, 2023. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Charlotte Wilson was 12 years old when a teacher offered a great tip.

Having just moved from Ireland with her family, Wilson seemed in need of a group activity. That teacher suggested she join the Shahala Middle School track and field team.

“I kind of coughed my way around the track,” Wilson said. “I was dying every practice.”

Six years later, Wilson can’t imagine her life without running.

She wrapped up her cross country career at Union High School by finishing ninth in Class 4A at the state meet on Nov. 4.

Wilson’s time of 18 minutes, 54.6 seconds was the fastest of any local runner that day in Pasco. It capped a season in which she won her first district title and broke 19 minutes eight times, clocking a personal best of 17:56 for 5,000 meters.

For her accomplishments, Wilson is The Columbian’s All-Region girls cross country runner of the year.

Wilson said she met most of her friends through running. Her Union teammates have helped her craft both resilience and gratitude.

“If the practice isn’t going well, you can talk it through with your teammates,” Wilson said. “That’s such a helpful part because it reminds you how lucky you are to be this fit and be capable of achieving such crazy goals and aspirations.”

Wilson’s goal of a top-10 finish in state didn’t seem too crazy. After all, she placed third in the 3,200 meters at the state track and field championships the previous spring.

But Wilson felt she hadn’t ran to her potential at the season’s biggest race. She finished 20th as a junior after placing 17th as a sophomore.

When Wilson began her senior year, Union coach Ryan Hovde saw a runner on a mission.

“For her, it’s her mental capacity to say ‘you know what, this is going to suck but I am going to embrace the suck,’ ” Hovde said.

This season, Wilson learned how to compete her best at the biggest races.

“I guess it took me awhile to figure that out,” she said. “I’m quite nervous during races and I kind of block everything out. But this year I’ve become more relaxed. I’m still nervous, but you can get rid of that. I just remind myself what I’m capable of doing.”

Wilson will continue her running career at the NCAA Division-I level. She recently committed to the University of Loyola-Chicago, which joined the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2022.

Considering how Wilson performed at the biggest meets this season, Hovde has no doubt she’ll rise to the challenges of the future.

“What’s cool is that you see that confidence in her,” Hovde said. “Even at the highest level, people are a little bit shaky. But you don’t see that in her. Even before the gun went off, you knew ‘oh yeah, she’ll be on the podium.’ ”



Charlotte Wilson, Union


Danica Allen, Ridgefield — The junior won 2A district title in her first season of cross country. Finished 16th at 2A state meet. Ran a personal best of 18:28 at the Lewis & Clark Invitational.

Daphne Evenson, Skyview — The junior finished 15th at the 4A state meet. She finished third at the 4A district meet and the bi-district Westside Classic. Season best of 18:42.

Avery Garrison, Seton Catholic — The senior finished 14th at the 1A state meet. She won three of her team’s four Trico League races and placed seventh at the district meet.

Charlize Kellmer, Ridgefield — The senior placed 19th at the 2A state meet and third at the at the district championships. Had a season-best of 19:24 at the Lewis & Clark Invitational.

Eliisa Marshall, Camas — The junior placed 14th at the 4A state meet and was 4A district runner-up. Ran faster than 19:24 in all races this season with a PR of 18:40.

Elle Thomas, Washougal — The senior was 14th at the 2A state meet. She was the district runner-up for fourth year in a row, running a season-best of 19:13 in that race at Lewis River Golf Course.