Naomi Smith Wins King's 8th Individual Title, Girls Team Places 2nd

Girls state cross country: King’s Naomi Smith stays out front this time, wins state title

Originally published November 3, 2018 at 8:17 pm  | Seattle Times

King’s Naomi Smith runs toward the finish line during the girls Class 1A state cross-country championships Saturday at Willows Golf Course in Pasco. (Evan Abell / Yakima Herald-Repubic)

The junior took over the lead in the second mile and led King's to a second-place finish in the team race.

By  Jeff Morrow  Special to The Seattle Times

PASCO — Naomi Smith of King’s decided to try a different strategy this year at the Class 1A state cross-country meet at Sun Willows Golf Course.

State cross country

“I wanted to get out near the front this year,” Smith, a junior, said. “The plan was not to get too far behind. Last year, I tried to wait to make a move, and it didn’t work.”

She finished seventh as a sophomore in 2017.

“This year I was thinking ‘I should get up there,’ ” Smith said.

Smith stayed up there too, slowly pulling away to win the race in 18 minutes, 16.70 seconds. She trailed Colville’s Alaina Stone by a split second after the first mile.

By the second mile, Smith had a good four-second lead over Stone, and she never looked back. Well, that’s a lie.

“I know I shouldn’t do that, but I kept looking back where everyone was,” Smith admitted. “All of the time. When I turned corners, I’d look back.”

Didn’t matter.

No one could catch her. And she knew them all.

“I love racing them,” she said. “I’ve run against Andrea (Markezich, fifth) and Olivia (Merkezich of Bear Creek, third) for a while. (Northwest’s) Macenna Hansen (ninth), and I have been competing with each other for a long time.”

Colville’s Stone finished second.

Smith couldn’t get King’s, which was ranked first in the state coaches poll heading into the meet, a team title. Lakeside of Nine Miles Falls near Spokane won the team title with 108 points, while King’s was second with 114.