Girls cross-country 15th in prestigious U.S. meet

"A tired group of South Kitsap High School girls cross country runners rolled into Port Orchard late Sunday evening after placing 15th at the Great American Cross Country Festival in North Carolina Saturday.SK coach Ed Santos said the girls were pumped up about the course after a practice run Thursday, but the feelings would change 48 hours later.A tropical storm hit Friday all day and all night, Santos said. We were originally supposed to run at 10 a.m. but the race didn't start until 4:40 p.m.The finish line was moved because it was in knee-deep water.When the race finally started, the runners had to endure water, mud, and 98 percent humidity, Santos said.I've never seen a course so muddy, Santos said. You could have lost shoes in there. But we did a great job handling the stress of the day.The new finish line also added another 200 meters to the course, but it was the last 800 meters of the race that Santos said he saw the most incredible looks on his runners' faces.It was a matter of survival, Santos said. SK's Randi Borchers was able to finish the race but the humidity took its toll on her and she immediately needed medical attention and was put on an intravenous line.Senior Natalie Rasmussen was the highest Wolves' finisher, placing 26th in a time of 19:01.Alicia Craig of Campbell County, Wyo. won the race in 17:47.Kristen Haas was the next SK runner to cross the finish line.She placed 93rd (20:41), followed by Kindel Stepper (111th, 21:04), Emily Picinich (116th, 21:08), Borchers (124th, 21:24), and Adie Hendrixson (140th, 22:05).Santos said his team may have earned a national ranking, especially after beating a couple of ranked teams.The Wolves also had four junior varsity runners compete and Santos said they performed very well.Danielle Friend took sixth place (21:15), followed by Leanne Meade (9th, 21:25), Jodi Guariz (10th, 21:55), and Jessica Friend (11th, 21:59). "

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