Fort Vancouver athletes among the many storylines prior to state cross country

A former golfer and a current boxer are also solid cross country runners; plus a list of 123 athletes from Clark County who could run at state meet

It’s about that time to have a great time in Pasco.

The WIAA’s 2021 State Cross Country Championships are Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course, and Clark County has more than 100 athletes listed in the program, ready to represent.

If this season’s times are any indication, there should be some incredible finishes for the local runners.

For many athletes, in fact, there have already been some incredible storylines. 

Fort Vancouver is having its best cross country season in decades, or ever, depending on one’s point of view.

The girls team just won its first district championship in program history. 

The boys team is sending three individuals to state. The Trapper boys have not sent more than two to state since the team qualified in 1966.

Cohen Thomas, a sophomore, leads the Fort boys, the best of the trio. Then there are two more who have had wild journeys to state.

Just a couple of months ago, Camilo Quiroz did not even know what the term “PR” meant. He was a boxer, running every day to stay in shape. Today, he’s going to state, hoping to run a personal record.

Eight months ago, Dylan Brooks-Minck was not even competitive in a junior varsity race. Today, he is state-bound.

“For boxing, I usually run long distances to keep my cardio up,” said Quiroz, a freshman. “It wasn’t about PR. I didn’t even know what that meant until I joined the cross country team.”

Dylan Brooks-Minck, left, and Camilo Quiroz of Fort Vancouver made amazing progress and have surprising stories on their way to earning a trip to the Class 2A state boys cross country championships. Photo by Paul Valencia
Dylan Brooks-Minck, left, and Camilo Quiroz of Fort Vancouver made amazing progress and have surprising stories on their way to earning a trip to the Class 2A state boys cross country championships. Photo by Paul Valencia

Quiroz has been a boxer for four years. Other Fort Vancouver cross country runners saw him training every day but figured he was just focused on boxing. A few weeks into the season, Fort Vancouver coach Owen Frasier figured he’d at least ask Quiroz about his interest.

Sounds fun, Quiroz said.

“It was that easy?” Frasier asked himself.

Quiroz ran his first race for the Trappers in early October. He ran a 5K course in 19 minutes, 16 seconds. Not bad for a first time, for a freshman. Four weeks later, Quiroz came in at 17:30, finishing 18th at district to qualify for state.

“Sure, I’ll try it out. I’ve never done a sport like that, racing,” Quiroz said. “I wanted to try something new. Here I am now.”

After running in middle school, Brooks-Minck played golf for Fort Vancouver during his freshman and sophomore years. He wanted to come back to running.

“Figured, why not for the last two years of high school, just see what I can make happen,” Brooks-Minck said. “Seems like I’ve got into a pretty good position.”

It does now. But not exactly at first.

His junior season was the COVID season, last school year but earlier this calendar year. And in his first race, he clocked in at more than 21 minutes … a bad JV time, his coach conceded.

“At that point, well, I didn’t know how far I was going to be able to go with this,” Brooks-Minck acknowledged. “But I kept showing up every day, trying to get better. I’ve come a long way since then.”

Brooks-Minck finished 13th at the district meet with a time of 17:22, four minutes faster than he was running just eight months ago.

“Senior year, it’s amazing. I would have never imagined this,” Brooks-Minck said. “I’m so happy to be in this position.”

Now, it’s time for state.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better team,” Brooks-Minck said. “The community here is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before. I’m just so happy … we are able to represent our boys team, and put everything we have out there and show other schools that we can actually compete.”

For Quiroz, going to state meant a small sacrifice with his boxing. He was supposed to be fighting in a local tournament on Saturday. 

Boxing remains his first love, but with this schedule conflict, he picked cross country.

“I didn’t even think I was going to make it to state,” Quiroz said. “So just being able to go is a big deal to me. I thought state would be more important (than boxing) this time.”

He, too, is proud to represent Fort Vancouver.

“It’s a very great team, a very supportive team,” Quiroz said. “Us three boys, and the girls, too, we’ve worked very hard for this. It means a lot. I know how hard they trained and how hard we trained.”

There are championship stories with all athletes in cross county, persevering, enduring to make it to state.

Seton Catholic and La Center are among the top teams in the Class 1A girls race. Alexis Leone of Seton Catholic has the fastest time in the state on a 5K course this season, according to Athletic.net. Her teammate Lara Carrion, who finished third in state in 2019, has the third-best time this season. 

Lauren Fox of La Center is at No. 5 this season. 

La Center finished third as a team in 2019. Seton Catholic took seventh. That is a team race for Clark County running enthusiasts to keep an eye on Saturday.

In Class 4A, the Camas boys are heading back to state as a team. The Papermakers won the state title in 2019, which makes them the defending champions. (Remember, there was no state championship in 2020.) 

The Camas girls, who finished second in 2019, are back as a team, as well. Gracie Buzell has the sixth-fastest time in the state among 4A girls, according to Athletic.net.

Daniel Barna of Columbia River has had a most impressive senior season, with wins at league and district championships. He has the second fastest time in the state this season in Class 2A. Joran Lamoreaux of Woodland is fourth on that list and Washougal’s Sam Brice is No. 5. 

Elle Thomas of Washougal is fourth in the 2A girls rankings of best times.

Joseph Blanshan of La Center has the third best time in Class 1A.

Tickets for state cross country are $11 for all races, $8 for students, military or senior citizens. To purchase tickets online, go to: https://gofan.co/app/events/403142?schoolId=WIAA

Here are the teams and runners from Clark County who have qualified for state. 

Class 4A Boys

Camas (Qualified as a team): Joshua Ji, Gabriel Marcham, James Puffer, Jayden Jones, Hayden Reich, Charles Weidmann, Max Gregory, Porter Craig, Luke Tupper

Battle Ground: Ben Gamblin

Skyview: Carson Clary

Class 4A Girls

Camas (Qualified as a team): Gracie Buzzell, Aynsley Bjorge, Bethany McKinstry, Erin Mitchell, Amelia Merritt, Alyson Robertson, Callie Ulin, Katelyn Flolo, Natale Peddie

Skyview (Qualified as a team): Charis Deitemeyer, Abi Grant, Biance Perez, Natalie Pugh, Evelyn Reed, Samantha Williams, Phoebe Abbruzzese, Ava Logue, Lauren Amato

Union: Amanda Grant, Jaylyn Lehner, Charlotte Wilson

Class 3A Boys

Evergreen: Lorenzo Anguiano

Heritage: Vincenzo Robles

Mountain View: Branden Chou

Prairie: Logan Bigelow, Ethan Pedersen

Class 3A Girls

Evergreen: Claire Rogge

Mountain View: Morgan Geddry, Phebe Willson

Prairie: Annie Anderson

Class 2A Boys

Ridgefield (Qualified as a team): Joey Blick, Ty Dalley, Marco Garcia, Evan Hollis, Davis Sullivan, Daniel Zimmer, Brandon O’Dell-Nguyen, Jack Radosevich, Liam Rapp

Washougal (Qualified as a team): Brandon Austenfeld, Liam Churchman, Samuel Grice, Carson Holmes, Nolan Johnson, John Love, Dawson Sprinkle, Trey Keyser, Blake Scott

Columbia River: Daniel Barna, Zachary McClellan

Fort Vancouver: Dylan Brooks-Minck, Camilo Quiroz, Cohen Thomas

Hudson’s Bay: Gustavo Gonzalez

Woodland: Joran Lamoreaux, Aidan Rivers

Class 2A Girls

Fort Vancouver (Qualified as a team): Ava Arroyo, Dani Buttrell, Emma Cortez, Sarah Gardner, Athiena Ghormley, Molly Malone, Pamela Melchor-Burgos, Nola Morrisey, Shelby Willett

Washougal (Qualified as a team): Sydnee Boothby, Lauren Filipczak, Abby Glasen, Audrey Grice, Iris Hancock, Chloe Johnson, Danica Stinchfield, Elle Thomas, Savea Mansfield

Columbia River: Hanna Bailey, Mae Otoupal

Hockinson: Sofia Solari

Hudson’s Bay: Miranda Gonzalez

Ridgefield: Cordelia Ashley, Elizabeth Swift, Tyla Engrstrom

Class 1A Boys

La Center (Qualified as a team): Anthony Larkin, Austin Mattson, Jacob Wasche, Joseph Blanshan, Thurston Lewis, Aidan McDaid, Carter Sherry, Brady Sypher, Caden Taylor, Brayden Field

Seton Catholic (Qualified as a team): Oliver Dortmund, Brett Lamey, Cayden Lauder, Ben Ross, Steven Sanders, Sam Soto, Elijah Wall, Dylan Young

King’s Way Christian: Luke Gomes

Class 1A Girls 

La Center (Qualified as a team): Huston Allen, Emily Rosenkranz, Addison Crum, Lauren Fox, Isabella Higgins, Makayla Hubler, Tamsyn Lewis

Seton Catholic (Qualified as a team): Lara Carrion, Virginia Carrion, Sara Cordova, Avery Garrison, Alexis Leone, Addison Miller

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Article Source: Clark County Today