Hard work and dedication have propelled the Interlake Saints boys cross country team to excellence on the trails.
The Saints, who captured second place at the Class 3A state meet in 2016, finished the 2017 regular season with an undefeated record of 7-0. Interlake dominated the KingCo 3A/2A meet, earning first place with a total of 23 team points (low score wins in cross country) on Oct. 21 at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah.
Interlake now has their sights set on the Class 3A state meet on Nov. 4 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
“These kids are good runners and they’re hard workers. We got second place last year at the state meet and the kids have aspirations to return to the podium and get a trophy on the top-four stand,” Interlake head coach Brad Barquist said. “It is really about the hard training. They’re a close-knit team because they train so hard together, really have a tight bond and they race hard for each other. The chemistry is great and they’re very supportive of each other.”
The Saints are led by an experienced quartet of senior leaders. Co-captains Matthew Roberts and Dante Paszkeicz are two of the Saints’ top runners.
“They are great leaders both in the social dynamics of the team but they are also super hard workers who never miss any training and never miss any practices. That is so important,” Barquist said of the co-captains. “Bryce Rosenwald and Chris Taves are great leaders also. They are all seniors and they all do a fantastic job.”
Interlake isn’t the kind of program who worries about their opponents on the trail, they are more concerned with maximizing their own specific individual and team performances.
“They are a mature team and they are a very confident team. The foundation of this is the hard training,” Barquist said of his team. “They realize when they are about ready to start a race that their job is to just go out and take advantage of the fitness they’ve earned through hard work. They just go as hard as they can and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else from any other team does.They know what they are capable of is pretty special.”
The Saints are looking forward to rising to the occasion in the final competition of the 2017 season on Nov. 4 at the Class 3A state meet.
“We’d like to win but wherever we finish really isn’t under our control. What is under our control is training as hard as we can and competing as hard as we can,” Barquist said of the state meet in early November. “If we can do that, we can walk away from the state meet happy with what we’ve done and proud of the work that got us there.”