SEQUIM — Bereket Piatt held on for as long as he could.
Unfortunately for the Port Townsend junior, it was about 400 yards short.
Piatt had to settle for second place in the varsity boys race of the Olympic League cross country championships at Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course on Thursday after getting passed by North Kitsap’s Tabor Reedy on the homestretch.
“It was a good race,” said Reedy, who finished the three-mile course in 15 minutes, 59 seconds.
“My original plan was to go out and keep [Piatt] in sight . . . and then at the second mile I was going to try and make a move on him.
“I questioned myself with 400 [yards] to go. I was thinking, ‘Am I going to beat him today?’ As soon as I came around the turn and was gaining on him I knew I was going to pass him.”
Redskins teammate Habtamu Rubio finished just behind the two lead runners in third, helping Port Townsend (92 points) take third in the team standings behind Class 3A North Kitsap (44) and 2A Kingston (78).
Yet that was of little consolation to Piatt, who had led from the opening mile only to finish five seconds behind Reedy in 16:04.
“I thought I had it,” said Piatt, league runner-up for the second straight year, having finished behind since-graduated teammate Quinton Decker in 2008.
“I saw [Reedy] just in the corner of my shoulders, and he was gaining on me.
“But I thought I was going pretty fast, so I decided not to push it any farther. On the stretch he just caught me.
“I didn’t really have much of a kick left in me, because I was going all out [earlier in the race].”
Roberts runs away
There were no such dramatics in the varsity girls race as Kingston’s Ruby Roberts ran away from the field and stayed there for her third straight league crown.
The Buccaneers senior crossed the finish line in 18:30, a full 10 seconds in front of the next closest runner, little sister Marina Roberts.
She also topped Allison Cutting of Sequim — Ruby’s main rival – in what will likely be the first of three postseason meetings between the two.
The Wolves senior finished three spots behind in fourth (18:55).
“It was tough for me,” said Cutting, the defending 2A state champion. “Ruby and Marina did a great job of running. They kept up a quick pace.
“I wish I would’ve done better, but you have some off races and some really great races. Today just wasn’t my day.”
Instead, the day belong to the Buccaneers girls, who also edged out North Kitsap for the team title by the slimmest of margins 39-40 (Full team standings on Page B3).
“I was hoping actually to go out a little faster, but it was fine, everything worked out,” said Roberts, the 2007 2A state champion.
“I beat [Cutting] at league last year, and she beat me at state, so it depends [how state will play out]. I’m not counting her out.”
PA girls third
The Port Angeles girls finished third in the team standings to qualify for the 3A race at next weekend’s West Side Classic in Tacoma.
That was thanks in large part to the performances of Alison Maxwell and Chanda Romney, who were sixth and eighth overall, respectively.
“It was a good, solid showing by our young ladies,” Port Angeles coach Dwayne Johnson said.
“I can’t wait until next week at districts.”
The Sequim girls also qualified for the West Side Classic with its fourth-place mark.
The Wolves got a boost from Audrey Lichten’s return to the lineup, as the junior took 10th place overall.
She had been out with a nagging injury for much of the fall, but her presence will give the Wolves a better chance of reaching the 2A state meet for the fourth straight year.
“She was not race ready and she still had an incredible race,” Sequim coach Harold Huff said.
“That makes us a better team. Still, it’s going to be a handful to qualify through districts because Interlake is really good and Kingston’s the team to beat.”
The Sequim boys, led by Alex Jenkins’ 10th-place finish, qualified for the 2A district meet as well after taking fourth in the team standings behind the 1A Redskins.
Port Angeles’ boys will also move on to districts.
Their fifth-place mark was good enough to finish ahead of 3A challengers Olympic (sixth) and Bremerton (eighth).
The Riders had three runners place in the top 25 to secure the spot, led by John Christian’s seventh place time of 16:40.
“We’re very pleased with our outcome,” Johnson said of his boys. “We know that Port Townsend is going to do very well at [1A] state. We know Kingston is going to do very well at [2A] state.
“This is what I call a sub-state championship right here. This is a tough league. So that’s what makes this outcome [OK].”
Piatt and the Redskins were going to move on to districts no matter the results of Thursday’s meet.
Coach Jennifer Little didn’t taper her runners’ training because of that, something she said might have affected her top runner’s performance on Thursday.
Yet Piatt didn’t offer up such excuses.
After all, he had run nearly a minute faster (15:13) in last year’s race, and Reedy had done the same thing to him in a dual meet just a week before.
“I prepared a week before this in how I was going to do it, and when I was going to make my move, but it didn’t happen,” Piatt said.“I’m very disappointed.”