The Titans men’s and women’s cross country teams ended the season as runners-up for the NWAC Championship title
The Titans men’s and women’s cross country teams ended the season as runners-up for the NWAC Championship title in Battle Ground, Wash. on Nov. 14. Photo courtesy of Grady O’Connor

The men’s and women’s cross country teams put on an impressive display of athleticism Saturday, Nov. 14 during the Northwest Athletic Conference Championship meet at Lewisville Park in Battle Ground, Wash.

Clouds covered the county’s oldest regional park, which was established in the ’30s. As the rain poured, mud accumulated at the bottom of a hill near the finish line, and it only got worse with each lap. Head coach Mike Blackmore had prepared his runners for days like this one.

“We really took advantage of that part of the course, we picked up three or four places every time we went through there,” Blackmore said.

The scene was set for a showdown. The Titans clearly knew their goal: a NWAC Championship Title. Last year, the Titans placed runner up. This year campus buzzed of sophomore Danielle Girard who went into the meet as NWAC Athlete of the Week.

“I’m like a cat, waiting to pounce,” Girard said.

Girard earned a score of six finishing the women’s 5k race sixth overall; only six seconds later than sophomore teammate Madison Schell, who finished fifth overall with a breathtaking time of only 18 minutes and 50 seconds. Emily Viuhkola was Lane’s third finisher who placed 15th overall with a time of 0:19:58.

Then it was the men’s turn to glide over the mostly dirt and gravel paths of Lewisville Park in their 8k race for the NWAC Championship title.

Freshman Elmer Shelvey finished only five seconds off the leading pace for a ninth place finish with a time of 0:25:37. The pack held tight throughout the race, and crossed the finish line it what was a burst of blue Titans jerseys.

Finishing in 13th place with a time of 0:25:55 was freshman Ronald Graham, followed by teammates sophomore Carlos Camacho who finished sixteenth in 0:26:06 and, with a finishing time of 0:26:15, Ricardo Castillo who finished 16th overall.

The men’s team finished the day with a score of 81 while the women’s team tallied a score of 65, both of which are relatively high scores for the second place finishes they both accomplished. Despite the Titan’s phenomenal effort, the Spokane Community College Sasquatch pulled off the three-peat and are the 2015 NWAC Championship winners once again, with a score of 28 for the men and 22 for the women’s team.

The Titans end their season as runners-up for the NWAC Championship title a second consecutive year for the women, and fourth consecutive year for the men.

“A lot of schools looked at us like we didn’t have a chance to bring these trophies home and we did,” coach Mike Blackmore said, accompanied by two regional champion trophies. Despite expectations, hard training persevered. “Never let anybody underestimate you,” added Schell, “I didn’t think I could run after community college but now that I’ve had some success with Blackmores training it’s becoming a reality. I’m keeping my options with running open.”

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