Photo credit: Leah Hetteberg
Some Background Information
During the pandemic, I assembled the Thurston Country Track and Field records for the first time in 2020. Working with other state cross-country and track and field historians was a project I started to pass the time during the COVID-19 pandemic era.
I started documenting the Thurston County Cross-Country records at the end of 2020.
I am still compiling the records, but what I have so far is below. Check back on this page for updates to the records. The most current update occurred on November 11, 2023.
Washington State High School Cross-Country records go back to 1959 for the boys and 1973 for the girls.
Thurston County High Schools
The High Schools with cross-country programs in Thurston County include Olympia, Tumwater, North Thurston, Timberline, River Ridge, Capital, Rochester, Yelm, Tenino, Rainer, Northwest Christian, and Pope John Paul II.
One school in the area has only had a cross-country program for a few years, while others have existed for half a century.
Most area schools started their programs in the 1960s or 1970s, except River Ridge, Northwest Christian, and Pope John Paul II.
River Ridge started their program in the 1990s. Northwest Christian's program is a little over 20 years old.
The Pope John Paul II girls program started in 2018. The boy's cross-country records go back to 2011.
Details About The Accomplishments
Many of the accomplishments below are grouped under the heading combined, meaning the girls' and boys' program accomplishments are combined.
Keep in mind that records only tell part of the story. Statistics can’t capture the many life lessons learned through our sport, the relationships made along the journey, or the personal barriers that each person, record-setter or not, can overcome. You can’t quantify the fantastic people and relationships made along the Cross-Country journey.
The primary source for Thurston County records is the Washington State Cross-Country Statistical Analysis Records compiled by Rod Wilcox and Will Woodard.
Athletic.net was also used in a couple of cases as a source. The Washington State Cross-Country Coach Association information was the source of some historical coaching information.
Fastest Woman On The State Course (Old Course)#
Jesse Mclaughlin, Olympia: 18:20
#The State course was changed in 2018 and is a slightly slower course than the course used when Jesse ran her record. We are leaving the record at 18:20 because no one in the area has approached her record, even considering that the new course is slower. Jesse's time is still equivalently faster.
Fastest Man On The State Course
Ethan Coleman, Olympia: 15:28.7 (on the new course)
Most Combined Team State Championships
Northwest Christian Lacey: 17 State Cross-Country Championships
Most Combined Individual Runner State Titles
Northwest Christian: 6
Individual State Cross-Country Championships
Jesse Mclaughlin, Olympia (1)
Joscelyn Minton, Northwest Christian (1)
Gabe Molinaro, Northwest Christian (1)
Justin Holden, Northwest Christian (1)
Luke Schilter, Northwest Christian (1)
Lucas Graham, Northwest Christian (2)
Ruby Henry, Pope John Paul II (1)
Freshman Who Have Won State Individual Titles
Ruby Henry, Pope John Paul II
All-time Greatest Combined Programs
Northwest Christian Lacey - 37 state appearances, 17 titles, 28 trophies, five individual titles, 68 podium places. Six individual state titles
Best Team Average Time On State Course (boys)
Best Average Team Time On State Course (Girls)
Most Combined State Appearance's
Olympia: 61 (35 boys, 26 girls)
Longest Combined State Consecutive Appearance Streaks
Tumwater: 21 (13 in a row for boys, 9 for girls; the streak for the girls was broken in 2022)
Schools With State Championship Titles
Northwest Christian: 17; Pope John Paul II: 4; Capital: 1; Olympia: 1
Schools With Most Runner-Up Titles At The State Cross-Country Championships
Pope John Paul II Boys: 5 consecutive runner-up positions in Pasco as of 2023.
Fastest Road To A State Cross-Country Championship
The Pope John Paul II Girls' team won the state cross-country championship in their second year of existence in 2019.
Individuals On Four State Championship Teams
The information below comes directly from the Washington State High School Cross-Country History document that Rod Wilcox and Will Woodward prepared, except for information about Moriah Steinbrecher, Catelin King , and Taylor Ames.
From The State Record Books: "INDIVIDUAL PERFECTION
Few individuals have been on four state championship teams.
Obviously, it is hard for a freshman to make a state championship team. In 2010, three teams (Sehome’s girls, North Central’s boys, and NW Chr. Lacey’s girls) extended their title streaks to 6 in a row. However, none of them had an individual in the last four years of their streaks. In 2012, two teams extended their title streaks to 8 years in a row. Three girls from NW Christian Lacey joined the list of 4 perfect years. During Mead’s 9-year title streak and North Central’s 10-year title streak, no individual ran all four years at state.
5 boys and 12 girls have accomplished the feat. The honored few are:
Rice - Richland 70-73
Guy Tunnell – Richland 71-74
Brandon Thompson - King’s 99-02
Garrett McSheffrey – NW Christian Lacey 16-19
Noah Phillips – NW Christian Lacey 16-19
Cara Smith - East Valley Spokane 94-97
Ann Marie Adams - East Valley Spokane 94-97
Adele Eslinger - King’s 06-09
Morgan Hamm - King’s 06-09
Makenzie Taylor - King’s 06-09
Annie Moore - Sehome 06-09 **
Ashlee Giesman - NW Christian Lacey 06-09
Elizabeth Weber - NW Christian Lacey 08-11
Allison Sowers – NW Christian Lacey 09-12
Megan Teigen – NW Christian Lacey 09-12
Hailey Bredeson – NW Christian Lacey 09-12**
Anna Brooks – NW Christian Lacey 11-14
#Moriah Steinbrecher – Pope John Paul II 19-22
#Catelin King– Pope John Paul II 19-22
#Taylor Ames– Pope John Paul II 20-23
NOTHING BUT SUCCESS
**Sehome’s Annie Moore and NW Chr. Lacey’s Hailey Bredeson won 4 team titles and placed individually on the podium each year".
# Moriah Steinbrecher and Catelin King from Pope John Paul II High School ran on three, not four, official state championship cross-country teams in high school. Their sophomore year was during the COVID-19 pandemic when the state cross-country meet in Pasco was canceled. However, their team was ranked number one on athletic.net during the limited meets held during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Taylor Ames from Pope John Paul II High School ran on three, not four, official state championship cross-country teams in high school. His freshman year was during the COVID-19 pandemic when the state cross-country meet in Pasco was canceled.
All-Time Washington State Record Holders
Northwest Christian is the area and all-time state record holder for consecutive girls' state championship titles with nine straight titles.
Washington State Academic Cross-Country Champions
The Pope John Paul II Lady Eagles won the state championship with the highest team GPA in 2018, 2021, and 2022
Most Cross-Country State Championships Coached
Larry Weber, Pope John Paul II/Northwest Christian: 12
Coaches Who Coached State Championship Cross-Country Teams
Jerry Miller Capital (1); Larry Neilsen Olympia (1); Mike Michael Northwest Christian (3); Bill Kehoe Northwest Christian (6); Larry Weber JPII/Northwest Christian (12).
All-time Washington State High School Girls Cross-Country Team Coaching Record
In 2023, Larry Weber of Pope John Paul II High School tied the Washington State High School cross-country coaching record for most high school girls' state titles with nine and has 12 overall titles, including three boys' titles.
Weber tied Glacier Peak's Dan Parker with the most state girls titles in Washington State High School Cross-Country history.
Retired Washington State High School Cross-Country Hall Of Fame Coaches
John Amidon, Olympia: 2014
Dave Annonen, Tumwater: 2006
Jerry Miller, Capital: 2015
Bill Kehoe, Northwest Christian Lacey: 2016
Gordon Robertson, Tenino: 2000
You can view the biographies of the Cross Country Hall Of Fame Coaches. Click on the Coaches Hall Of Fame section when reaching the Washington State Coaches Cross-Country Association site.
Selected As A Washington State High School Cross-Country Coach Of The Year
Bill Kehoe, Northwest Christian Lacey
Mike Michael, Northwest Christian Lacey
Larry Weber, Pope John Paul II/ Northwest Christian Lacey
2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021
Notable Area Cross-Country Alumni
Rob Connor, the great University of Portland cross-country coach, ran for Timberline High School in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Coach Connor was the college coach of 2021 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters Olympian Woody Kincaid. His teams consistently place high in Division 1 national cross-country championships.
Three-time NCAA Division 1 Cross-Country Coach of the year, Dave Smith, from Oklahoma State, ran for Tumwater High School in the 1980s. Winning the national coach of the year is the highest honor you can receive in collegiate cross-country as a coach.
Dave Gordon, a 2:11 marathon runner, top American finisher at the Boston Marathon one year, Olympic team alternate, and USA World Championship Marathon member, ran for Capital High School in the 1970s.
Larry Nielsen ran for Tumwater High School, Western Washington University, and coached the only Cross-Country State Championship at Olympia High School in the 1970s. Neilsen is famous for being the first American to climb Mount Everest (29,035) without supplementary oxygen. Neilsen climbed many of the world's most challenging mountains and won various awards for his national and international accomplishments.
Some Final Words
Remember, all of these records are just statistical in nature.
Statistics are fun to look at but don't even paint a partial picture of our sport.
Many other factors pertain to developing successful young people, teams, and programs that you cannot quantify in the records. Each cross-country program in the area has significantly contributed to the development of our youth during the high school years in many different ways.
Contact me on my "Contact Us" page for corrections or additions.
Northwest Christian Lacey has won 17 state cross-country combined championships between their boys and girls teams. The girl's last title was in 2014, and the boy's was in 2019.
Pope John Paul has won four consecutive state cross-country championships in Pasco. The girl's team was formed in 2018. They won state champions in 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023. The JPII boys captured second place at state four seasons in a row. No state championships were held in 2020 at Pasco due to the COVID Pandemic.
Hall of Fame Coach Jerry Miller led his Capital team to a state title in 1997. Miller led teams that captured numerous league and district titles as well.
Ethan Coleman, class of 2022, from Olympia (1062), is the fastest ever high school cross-country 5k runner from Thurston County with a time of 14:40.2 He is also the area record holder in the 1600 meters at 4:06.28 and the 3200 meters with a time of 8:49.00.
Tumwater had the longest State Championship Appearance Streaks with their combined boys and girls teams until recently. Tumwater also has won numerous league and district championship titles over several decades.
Jesse Mclaughlin from Olympia is seen here winning border clash. Jesse has the top time on the state 5k course at 18:20. She is also a state champion in the 1600 meters in track and holds the area record with a time of 4:53.25.
The Northwest Christian ladies (2B at the time) are the all-time Washington State Cross-Country girls' record-holders (for all classifications) with nine straight cross-country state titles in Pasco.
The Pope John Paul II girl's team won their fourth consecutive state title in 2023 at Pasco and now holds the current 1B record for consecutive titles. Pope John Paul II is a 1B school that competes in the combined 1B/2B Classification in cross-country. In other high school sports, the 1B classification (the smallest state classification enrollment-wise in the State of Washington) holds separate state championship events from the larger 2B classification. For example, there are different state championship events for the 1B and 2B classifications in track and field, basketball, baseball, and volleyball.