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Sunday, November 4, 2012 - Page updated at 07:00 p.m.

Glacier Peak's Neale reclaims state crown

By Pete Treperinas
Special to The Seattle Times

PASCO — The Class 3A girls' state cross-country championship Saturday was a grudge match for Glacier Peak of Snohomish senior Amy-Eloise Neale.

After winning state titles her freshman and sophomore years, she finished second last year to North Central of Spokane's Katie Knight.

She didn't come up short this time.

On the first leg of the 3.1-mile course at Sun Willow Golf Course, Neale separated from the field as she ran up the hill on the ninth fairway. Once the lead was hers, she never came close to letting it go.

"I was thinking that I just can't let what happened last year happen again," Neale said. "Because I finished that race and I was beating myself up so much because of it."

At the two-mile mark, Neale had about a 60-meter lead and she finished in 17 minutes, 3 seconds, topping Knight, who was second at 17:44. Neale's teammate, Katie Bianchini, was third with a time of 17:58.

Even with a large lead, Neale never got overconfident.

"My plan was to go out hard and just keep hammering, because I knew Katie wanted to stick with me," Neale said.

Glacier Peak won the team competition with 66 points, followed by Kamiakin (141) and Penninsula (142).

In Class 2A, Sehome of Bellingham sophomore Emily Pittis won her second consecutive title, finishing in 18:18, one second slower than her time in 2011.

Up until the two-mile mark, Pittis was behind East Valley of Spokane freshman Brittany Aquino and Squalicum of Bellingham senior Brittany Gappa.

"That's the point where I was like, 'I have to drop them, I have to go for it,' " she said. "I had to get this for my team. There's nothing else I want more than my team to have the best race they can possibly have."

Pittis said she would have given up her first-place finish last year for a team title. She didn't have to choose this year because Mariners finished in first, led by Pittis, freshman Rebekah Oviatt (ninth place) and freshman Dana Ringler (13th).


• In Class 1A, the 2011 first and second-place teams swapped places.

Last year's runner-up, Riverside of Chattaroy, took first place on Saturday with 70 points, while the 2011 champ, Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls, finished second (78).

Senior Sally Larson of Cedar Park Christian of Bothell finished first in 1A, with a time of 18:38.

• Camas, in its first year as a 4A school, won the 4A championship. The Papermakers beat defending 4A champion Tahoma.

Camas sophomore Alexis Efraimson won the 4A race in 17:34 — second-fastest to Neale. Last year's 4A champion, Mount Rainier junior Jordan McPhee, finished in second in 18:10.

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