Lake Washington’s Cocales runs to 18th at state

Claire Cocales saved her best race for the end of her prep cross country career.

Claire Cocales

Claire Cocales

Claire Cocales saved her best race for the end of her prep cross country career.

With the 5K terrain in front of her last Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, the Lake Washington High senior prepared to embark on her fourth consecutive 3A state meet. It would be an unforgettable journey.

She finished 18th in a personal-record 18 minutes, 37 seconds, nearly a minute faster than her district performance on Oct. 28 and 33 seconds faster than her previous PR set last year. Her best time this year was a 19:26 fifth-place KingCo meet finish on Oct. 21.

To top it off, she set a new girls’ school record, knocking off the former speediest mark by 15 seconds.

“Because it was my last race, I really just wanted to give everything I had, try to get over any nerves I had,” said Cocales, noting that she aimed to have maximum mental focus, start out fast and finish the race strong.

“Keep pushing, pushing, pushing…,” she added on Monday with excitement in her voice as if the race had just ended.

Cocales said overall it was a good race, one in which she started to feel the wear and tear at the two-mile mark and a bit more pain during the last 800 meters. The Kang forged through it all and said the she, her family members and her coach were thrilled with the result.

“I didn’t want to have any regrets,” Cocales said about giving it her all from start to finish. “It was a great feeling. I trained really hard this season, and it was confirmation of all the work I’ve done all the years throughout high school.”

She could assess from her time and placement throughout the race that she was running better than ever.

Cocales first laced up her running shoes in middle school, put in tons of training and never looked back.

“I just liked it and had a passion for it,” she said.

She also runs the one- and two-mile races in track and has set a goal to qualify for her first state meet in the spring.

For now, Cocales will take two weeks off from running, but then she’ll be back and easing into a regimen of six days and 30 miles a week to train for track season.

“I’ve got the momentum and drive to go for it,” she said.

• LW’s Sophie Kirov and Juanita’s Felicity Strzelec also competed at the state cross country meet.

More in Sports

Maggard finishes fifth in pair of events at NCAA finals

Utah State University senior Dillon Maggard — a Lake Washington High graduate… Continue reading

Juanita fireballer draws a crowd

Juanita High senior fireballer Jayson Schroeder unleashed his first pitches in competition… Continue reading

LW and Juanita girls smash into badminton action

Students and teachers know they’re in badminton country when they enter the… Continue reading

Eagles sign seven for women’s soccer

Six high school graduates and one college transfer make up the list of players.

Lake Washington defender to play for Bryant University in the fall

Casey Brine has played soccer since he was 4 years old.

Lake Washington gymnasts snag 3A KingCo title

Lake Washington’s gymnastics squad took first at the 3A KingCo meet and… Continue reading

Juanita, LW wrestlers will hit the mat at state

Juanita and Lake Washington wrestlers traveled a grand total of 572 miles… Continue reading

Rebels lose to Wolverines in KingCo 3A title game

Juanita will face the No. 8 seed from the Metro tournament on Saturday in a loser-out, Sea-King district playoff game.

Juanita continues in KingCo basketball tournaments

A roundup of Kirkland basketball.

Rebels win KingCo 3A wrestling tournament

Juanita advanced six wrestlers to championship matches.

Work ethic drives LW’s Reisman to a KingCo title

Reisman defeated Juanita’s Angel Kotalas 8-2 in the KingCo 3A tournament 106-pound championship match

LW’s Heenan defeats familiar foe in KingCo finals

Logan Heenan defeated his LW teammate Elijah Lux 13-1 in the title matchup in 126-pound category.