It was a mix of emotions for the Northwest Christian of Lacey cross-country team at the Class 2B/1B state meet at Sun Willows Golf Course.
The Navigators won their seventh consecutive state team title as Bredeson took third and Brooks fifth.
Bredeson got off to a bad start and watched her state title aspirations slip away, while Brooks put together a fast finish to vault herself into a position she only dreamed about.
“I don’t like to sprint, but so many people would’ve passed me it could’ve been the difference between a state title and not,” Brooks said of her closing flourish. “I knew I had to do it, or I wouldn’t be happy.”
Navigators coach Larry Weber called it the race of her life.
“It came out of nowhere,” he said. “She was a surprise. It was incredible. We never take this for granted. We never set it as a goal, just tell them to go do their best. It never gets old.”
Brooks finished in 20 minutes, 11.4 seconds.
She wasn’t the only area athlete excited about her results.
Olympia High junior Sofia Kane overcame a head cold to place fourth in the Class 4A race.
Kane woke up Friday morning with the cold and was concerned about just finishing the race. After a strong first mile, though, she wanted to do more than merely run Saturday.
“I was amazed,” Kane said. “Coming into today, I felt the worst I’ve ever felt before a race. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep it up, but this is just pure joy.”
Kane was at state for a third consecutive year – she finished 13th as a sophomore – but was joined by her teammates at state for the first time. She credited them with helping her push onward.
“We’ve been working toward this for so long,” Kane said. “It’s amazing to see it all come together.”
Olympia finished 14th in the team standings with 307 points. Camas cruised to the title with 50 points.
Among the B schools, the Navigators finished with 40 points, easily outdistancing St. John-Endicott’s 74 points.
Bredeson, meanwhile, was a mix of emotions. She was happy to win another team title, but angry at herself for her effort after the first mile.
“I planned to go out slow, but I went too slow and gave up a little,” she said. “I didn’t put my whole heart and soul into the race.”
She finished in 19:57.4, nearly the same time she ran as a freshman when she took fifth (20:00.0). Oroville’s Sierra Speiker won the race in 18:58.4.
“Hailey didn’t have her best race, but it was her highest finish at state and you have to be proud of that,” Weber said. “They ran very well as a team today. Very focused.”
Seniors Megan Teigen (ninth), Allison Sowers (16th) and Savannah Schilter (24th) rounded out the scorers for the Navigators.
Teigen was hoping for a higher finish, but was happy the team overcame the pressure of defending so many titles in a row.
“It does weigh on us a little,” she said, “but we know the coaches have prepared us well.”
Capital took third as a team in the Class 2A girls race, finishing with 122 points. Sophomore Lauren Pierson led the way in 10th place in 19:26.1.