XC makes Tahoma history, not done yet!

“All the little things” lead to Tahoma history for Cross Country
Posted on 11/05/2021

This story was updated on Nov. 8. The Tahoma girls team took 3rd place and the boys team finished 4th at State on Nov. 6. Congratulations to both teams on an incredible season!

In a quarter century with the Tahoma cross country program, head coach Jeff Brady has witnessed a wealth of success from both the girls and boys teams. This season, in year 26, the multi-time Washington State High School Coach of the Year was part of a Tahoma first -- coaching both teams to District Championships in the same season.

Cross country poses with their district champion plaques


What makes this now historic group so great?


“Years of experience from kids and coaches that have come through the program,” Brady said. “We’ve been pretty blessed with some great talent, and every year this group raises the bar. It’s many of the same kids, but they push themselves to a different level each season.”


Those years of experience are led by the team’s seniors, who saw leadership and success firsthand as underclassmen. In 2018, the boys cruised to a state title in Pasco -- the same location for this year’s State Championship race.


“Freshman year I was part of a team that won state,” said senior Sam Clarke. “I didn’t get to go, but I still got to experience running with the guys and training with them. They were really good role models to me and this year’s seniors. Now that we get to compete as a team, it’s come full circle.”


Now as seniors, both teams are setting the pace for the younger runners.


“We always want to compete at the highest level,” said Clarke. “To have two teams do it keeps us motivated. If one of us is struggling, we pick each other up and keep going.”

Cross Country boys race


The teams urged each other to the State Championships on Nov. 6, a spot that senior Faith Martinez has envisioned for a long time.


“The end of the race is a huge downhill,” she said. “We’re going to give everything we have to pass people because every point counts and it could make the difference in winning a state title.

 

“It’s going to be very emotional because we’ve worked so hard, not only this season but over the last four years for the seniors. It’ll be our hard work throughout high school paying off at that moment. I’ll be really excited and happy.”


When they crossed the finish line on Saturday, the girls had a 3rd place finish and the boys took home 4th place, along a lifetime of memories, but senior Ryan Perkins knows he’s walking away with something invaluable.


“I’ve never been much of a leader,” Perkins said. “My personality is more of a follower, but I think that being in this senior spot has helped me grow as a person and connect with my teammates more than I would have in another role.”


Beyond first place finishes, those leadership and team-building skills are what the coaching staff and Brady, in his 8th season as head coach, was really developing.


“They really inspire me,” said Clarke’s twin brother Jack about his coaches. “They give me workout plans, motivation and encouragement to do my best. They have a lot of great experience.”


“They talk about it all season long,” said senior Theresa Barhart. “They talk about ‘all the little things’ that we need to be doing.”

Tahoma Girls Cross Country race


“We have to be perfect on Saturday, so we need to be perfect in our preparation,” Brady said. “Doing all the little things like checking in on each other and sticking to our routines. If we put it all together on Saturday, great things are going to happen.”


Years from now, when Brady looks back on these teams, he'll remember the talent, but more so, the kids who made it happen.


“I’ll remember how much of a tight bond that they all were,” he said. “Of all the teams I’ve coached, this team has probably worked together closest as a family to get to where they are today.”

This is the 4th time that Tahoma has placed both teams in the top-4 at State in the same year. Individual medal winners were Sara Sanders placing 8th and Ryan Lewis placing 12th.


To see official results from the State Championships on Nov. 6, click here.
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