How fitting for Sequim runners that the West Central District meet took place on Halloween.
For the Wolves, it was more tricks than treats.
A bout of the flu nearly kept
Sequim's defending state girls champ from racing, while illness and a lost shoe doomed the boys as they missed a state berth as a team by a single point at the district meet Saturday in Tacoma.
It's the first time since 2001 that neither Sequim team is headed to state.
"Other teams dealt with sickness all year, too," Wolves coach Harold Huff said. "Ours just came at the wrong time."
Still, the Wolves will send four athletes to the state 2A meet at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco on Nov. 7.
Allison Cutting, the 2A defending champion, battled the flu for a week and still managed to place fifth while teammate Audrey Lichten, who had missed the entire season up until the Oct. 22 league meet - and who was battling an illness of her own - placed sixth.
On the boys' side, Alex Jenkins (sixth) and Colby Robb (seventh) managed to earn automatic berths by placing in the top 10 at the district meet.
A week before the district meet, Huff said he figured it would be a tight, three-way battle among Kingston, Interlake and his Wolves for the two boys' district team berths to state. That's exactly how it panned out on Saturday, only Sequim came in short-handed. Drake Apablasa, a senior who was the Wolves' No. 4 runner for much of the year, came down with an illness that kept him out of the race entirely.
"It hurt not having Drake there," Huff said. "He was so sick he couldn't get through an easy practice. That's a bummer; he really worked hard all summer."
Adding insult to infirmity, Adrian Clifford, one of Sequim's top three runners, found that one of his shoes was slipping and eventually kicked it off halfway through the course. He finished the race with one shoe and placed 15th overall. Sequim sophomore Joel Christopher was 14th while senior Tyler Wilson-Walters was 19th.
In the end, Kingston's boys, led by district champion Nick Schippers, finished with 56 points, Interlake with 60 and Sequim with 61.
"Those were good teams who beat these boys," Huff said.
Sequim's Taylor Roads, the Wolves' No. 3 girls runner, can relate: She placed 11th overall, one place from an automatic state berth and just eight seconds behind the 10th runner, Melia Beckwith from Kingston.
"I so wanted Taylor to make it," Huff said. "That kind of ruined my day. She had a great season."
Behind district champ Ruby Roberts, Kingston easily won the girls' team title with Interlake taking the No. 2 spot, followed by Fife in third, Sequim in fourth, Klahowya, Steilacoom and Washington.
Huff said he expects Kingston and Cedarcrest to challenge for the girls' state championship.
"Kingston, they just ran really well," he said. "More power to them. They had a great year."
As for Cutting defending her individual state title, Huff said that it's a bit of wait and see.
"It depends a lot on the week she has here," Huff said. "She was really having some crisp workouts before this flu."
Huff said Lichten figures to run strong after her second race of the season.
"She should do pretty good; she's a warrior," Huff said.
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.