Girls cross country team strong for Juanita

While the boys team probably will spend much of the season looking to slot runners behind Raul Silva, the Juanita girls cross country looks primed to have a strong season in 2008.

  • Thursday, September 11, 2008 3:38pm
  • Sports

Juanita’s Tansey Lystad

Boys squad begins rebuilding after graduation

While the boys team probably will spend much of the season looking to slot runners behind Raul Silva, the Juanita girls cross country looks primed to have a strong season in 2008.

There is some rebuilding to do on the boys team. Top runner Gedion Yitref graduated after being the only Rebel to run at the state meet for the boys team. Strong varsity runner Cort Sage also graduated. In addition juniors Austin Tran and Dane Baird, along with senior Jake Brown won’t return to the program after deciding to fully commit to other sports. Tran and Baird play soccer; Brown wrestles.

“We lost a lot of our good depth,” said Juanita coach Jim Henry. “There’s just a lot of inexperience on the boys team.”

Silva, a junior, will be the team’s top runner this season. Silva placed 28th at the District 2/4 Meet at the end of his 2007 season. He also snagged three top-5 finishes last season. Silva ran a time of 17 minutes, 10 seconds or faster in every meet but one, with a top time of 16:24 at the Bellevue High School Invite on Sept. 22.

“He’s running pretty well right now,” Henry said. “And that’s because all he did this summer was run.”

Juanita has 28 runners on the boys team and there will be just two seniors running on the varsity squad, meaning the Rebels are set up pretty well for next season and beyond.

Whereas the boys team might take some time to gel, the girls team has the top runners and the following depth to do some damage in the KingCo.

“This is the best girls team I’ve ever had at Juanita,” Henry said. “We didn’t lose anyone and they ran all summer long.”

The strong Juanita girls team starts at the top with Tansey Lystad. The sophomore returns as Juanita’s lone girls state runner, she placed 45th.

“We’re predicting she’ll be back at state this year,” Henry said. “And with another year of experience, she should do fairly well at state.”

Lystad placed in the top 10 three times in her freshman season. She ran a season-best 19:22 on Oct. 27 at the District 2/4 Meet.

Behind Lystad is a group of six strong runners all within a minute of each other. Seniors Claire Anderson and Blair Howisey lead the group in experience. The girls team is at 15 runners this season, up from the usual seven or eight for Juanita. That allows the team to have a full junior varsity team as well, building depth for upcoming seasons.

“It’s such a good group of girls,” Henry said. “They’re definitely very focused on what they want to do this year. They’re driven.”

There is something to the competition being slightly easier in 3A than it is in 4A. Taking the average team times from the 16 teams at the respective state meets, 4A comes out ahead with a time of 17:12 to 3A’s 17.30.

To put the difference in times in perspective, Yitref placed 49th with a time of 17:07. That time would have netted him a tie for 34th at the 3A meet. Lystad placed 45th with a time of 20:17, that time would have tied her for 21st at the 3A meet.

However, the Rebels aren’t alone in their transition from 4A to 3A. Henry said a number of Spokane teams (including last year’s girls state champion, Andrea Nelson of Shadle Park) will move down to 3A this season, making it the largest classification in Washington.

“Nothing really changes with us going to 3A,” Henry said. “Tansey is definitely faster this year, but we aren’t counting on a jump because of the move to 3A.”

The Rebels spent much of the summer meeting five times a week at 8 a.m. to run. Henry said they consistently had 20-25 participants at each practice, and he didn’t even have to make phone calls. The runners did it themselves.

“When kids take ownership of the program great things can happen.”

Juanita’s first meet is the KingCo Jamboree on Sept. 10 at Lake Sammamish State Park.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.

WIAA delays start dates for fall sports

Football practices to begin Sept. 5, all other sports planned for Sept. 7.

Northwest University’s Ford signs with Seattle Mountaineers

The 6-foot-6-inch forward ended his senior season as the No. 1 rebounder in the nation with 12.03 rebounds per game.

Northwest’s volleyball team stays connected during trying times

The squad has been using Zoom to hold weekly meetings during which they check in and pray for each other if needed.

No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities

Due to the school closure extension, the cancellation includes all practices, competitions, tournaments and championships, WIAA says.

There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association making contingency plans for high school sports competitions after extension of stay home order.

The WIAA announced Wednesday that if schools reopen at the conclusion of the six-week statewide shutdown ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, then the state championships will go on as planned. (WIAA photo)
WIAA still hoping to hold state championships in May

But if the school shutdown extends past April 24, those championships could be in jeopardy.

Athletic practices and competitions cancelled through April 24 due to coronavirus outbreak

By Andy Nystrom and Benjamin Olson Gov. Jay Inslee announced on March… Continue reading

Games are being postponed in response to coronavirus outbreak

In response to the recent coronavirus outbreak, Eastside schools are taking precautions… Continue reading

Kangs fall to Bulldogs in championship game

Lake Washington finished in second place at the 3A state basketball tournament.

Kangs reach 3A state tournament final on Saturday

LW defeats Eastside Catholic in semifinals.

Kangs advance to the semifinals at the Dome

LW beats Mt. Spokane and faces top-seeded Eastside Catholic next.