By Mike Maltais
Freshman varsity cross-country runner Ben Klemmeck is steadily climbing the ranks of the state’s fastest 1B/2B XC runners and is now second-fastest in the state at the 3-mile distance.
At last Saturday’s Can-Am race at Colville, Klemmeck also recorded the seventh-fastest time – 16 minutes, 47 seconds – for a five-kilometer (3.1-mile) race by any state 1B/2B runner.
Klemmeck and the rest of the Liberty Bell High School varsity cross-country team hit two races over three days – the Chelan Invitational on Thursday (Oct. 3) and the Can-Am Saturday (Oct. 5)
The venue for the Can-Am Invitational, originally scheduled to run at the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, was switched to Colville High School due to the federal funding shut down.
Veterans Liam Daily and Lilly Schlotzhauer had to pass on the Can-Am in order to complete their SATs, Morgan Ott was out with an injury, Willy Duguay and seventh-grader Lucy Cole were both ill and Logan Szafas unavailable.
Klemmeck finished fifth at the Can-Am and his brother Josiah crossed the line in 31st place.
“Josiah also had his best race of the season, dropping his pace per mile from 6:19 to an impressive 6:07 at this race,” said coach Craig Herlihy. “He’s getting better and faster as the season draws to a close and that’s what we’re looking for from the runners.”
Eli Nielsen ran another strong junior high race, Herlihy noted. The eighth-grader, who finished first at Mt. Baker last week, took the fight right down to the tape at Colville where he crossed the line barely a second behind winner Garret Willey of Springdale.
“Those two were running so fast over the 1.57-mile course that there wasn’t much ‘kick’ left in either one of them near the finish line,” Herlihy observed. “They were spent as they both left it all out there on the course.”
The coach said Nielsen has reduced his time to “a very quick 5:37-per-mile pace right now after only his second race of the season, very quick for an eighth-grader.”
5K varsity (84 runners)
5 Ben Klemmeck, 16:47
31 Josiah Klemmeck, 19:02
69 Carter Dornfeld, 21:01
1.5-mile junior high (57 runners)
2 Eli Nielsen, 8:45
13 Tim Haley, 9:54
35 Brayden White, 11:03
36 Lazo Gitchos, 11:03
44 Zack Strong, 11:55
1.5-mile JH girls (52 runners)
16 Sage Borgias, 10:54
5K JV (58 runners)
26 Erik Ellis, 21:50
33 Geza Sukovaty, 22:47
54 Tyler Bergevin-Krumme, 26:54
Win at Chelan
The Mountain Lions approached the Chelan Invitational as a “training run” since the course there was shorter than those at most other high school venues.
“Chelan was a 2.25-mile course, short considering most high school events are either 3 or 3.1 miles,” Herlihy said. “We weren’t necessarily looking to win and threw some different training aspects into the run.”
But win the Mountain Lions did.
While the invitational did not compile team results nor give team awards ,“we did ‘win’ the event over Chelan, Omak, Manson, Bridgeport, Tonasket and Brewster,” Herlihy said. “Erik Brooks and I were very happy with the training outcomes for the runners.”
1 Ben Klemmeck, 13:09
2 Liam Daily, 13:20
8 Willy Duguay, 14:06
13 Josiah Klemmeck, 14:20
22 Logan Szafas, 15:13
32 Carter Dornfeld, 15:58
33 Geza Sukovaty, 16:46
15 Lilly Schlotzhauer, 19:02