It was a memorable day at state for the Selah High cross country teams.
Senior Shea Mattson nearly won the boys individual title Nov. 9 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, finishing six-tenths of a second behind his rival, Eli Kabasenche of Pullman, with a time of 15:24.20.
Sophomore Cooper Quigley took sixth overall with a time of 15:48.80, helping the boys earn ninth place in the team standings. The girls team, led by senior Nicole DeHerrera’s seventh-place finish, claimed a fifth-place trophy,
“It was a great day for Selah cross country,” said girls head coach Kelly Mattson, who is also Shea’s dad. “This was the end result of the hard work our entire program put in since last summer. We saw a lot of big performances, and that’s all due to our runners’ foundation of hard work.”
DeHerrera, coming off a broken leg that she suffered just six months ago, improved on last year’s state time by 53 seconds, crossing the finish line in 18:55.60.
Senior Charis Williams improved her 2017 state time by 33 seconds, crossing the finish line in 20:27 to take 43rd overall. She was followed by junior Aryanna Gonzalez (20:51, 61st place), senior Kaleigh Dalrymple (20:58, 67th) and freshman Jenna Bond (21:42, 90th).
Freshman Kieryann Mattson (22:07, 111th) and senior Makayla Sauve (22:17, 116th) rounded out the varsity results. Pataathla Sutterlict, Avery Hartman and Kyrsten Callahan also made the trip over to Pasco.
“Our girls went from unranked to fifth place at state, which was pretty amazing,” coach Mattson said. “We ran well enough to make it to state the week before (at regionals), but this week they found a different gear. This team has such great senior leadership, and they really took the younger kids under their wing.”
The boys also benefited from strong leadership, with Shea Mattson leading the charge along with fellow seniors Jackson Yates (17:25, 104th) and Jon Watkins (17:51, 136th).
Freshman Eric Swedin (17:52, 138th), and sophomores Jonathan Orozco (18:16, 152nd) and Sam Anderson (18:30, 157th) rounded out the Vikings varsity times.
Judah Yates, Michael Strand and Reese Ozanich were the team alternates.
“Most of our varsity runners are underclassmen, so they are going to be good for years to come,” said Shea Mattson, who placed eighth at state last year and 56th in 2017.
“Cooper (Quigley) had one of the best performances by any underclassman at any level, and I keep telling him that he’s going to be a state champ if he keeps this up.”
Quigley’s effort was the 39th-best time for all classifications, while Mattson’s time was the 14th fastest overall. The senior captain said he left it all on the course, nearly knocking off Kabasenche for the second time in two weeks.
“It would have been really cool to win, but I gave it everything I had,” said Mattson, who defeated the Pullman standout for the first time in his career at the Nov. 2 regional meet. “I left it all out there, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Mattson, who will run track in the spring, has signed a letter of intent to compete for the University of Idaho. He said he can’t wait to compete at the next level.
“The team culture is outstanding and the coaches really know what they’re doing,” Mattson said. “They also had what I wanted academically, so it was a pretty easy decision. I’m looking forward to becoming a Vandal.”
(The photo above shows senior Shea Mattson, left, and sophomore Cooper Quigley. It was provided by the Selah High cross country program.)