Wood River High School’s girls’ cross country team poses after its second-place finish in the Great Basin Conference district run Wednesday at Burley Golf Course.
Last fall when the Wood River High School cross country team announced its team awards, junior Janel Passey was voted “Most Inspirational.”
She also earned the “Toughest,” award, in other words, the one who never gives up.
Four-year Wolverine cross country runner Passey, now a senior, earned accolades again Wednesday with a resounding victory in the Great Basin Conference 4A 4th District footrace at Burley Golf Course.
Winning her first-ever high school cross country race at a great time, Passey became the first Wolverine girl in 16 years to capture the state-qualifying district race—and only the second Hailey girl to land the district title in 23 years.
Not too shabby for a community-minded student whose senior project at Wood River was organizing the “Paint the Town 5k” holiday event July 6 in Hailey that raised nearly $3,000 for Higher Ground of Sun Valley and Girls on the Run.
Passey’s 20:53 at Burley was eight seconds faster than Jerome senior Kayla Green (21:01) and came close to her 20:50 in the Oct. 16 Minico Invitational. She made steady progress throughout the season and approached her previous-best 5k time of 20:44 at last November’s Northwest regionals.
Along with senior teammates Haley Montgomery and Mariah Stout, who placed 4-5 at Burley, Passey led the Wolverine girls (51) into second place in the team standings behind Jerome (30 points) and ahead of third-place Twin Falls (64).
The top three girls’ and boys’ teams in the six-school district meet qualified for the State 4A footrace Nov. 2 at Freeman Park in Idaho Falls. So for a second straight year, the Wood River girls made the grade, as did the Hailey boys (84) placing third Wednesday behind Jerome (29) and Twin Falls (38).
Senior Ty Reinemann (17:49) paced the Wolverine boys with a seventh-place finish behind winner Matthew Schenk of Twin Falls (17:04). Next best was junior Alexis Gonzalez, 12th in 18:07.
Passey’s win followed in the tracks of previous Wolverine district winners Holly Hobson (1997) and Jacki Saul (1990). She had finished 18th in the 2011 district run and 7th last year.
Top results and Wood River placings from Wednesday’s 4A 4th District championship race that attracted 117 boys and 83 girls including 32 Wolverines to the Burley course:
Girls’ varsity: 1—Janel Passey (WR) 20:53. 2—Kayla Green (Jerome) 21:01. 3—Kathryn Craig (Jerome) 21:09. 4—Haley Montgomery (WR) 21:21. 5—Mariah Stout (WR) 21:21. 15—Amanda Passey (WR) 22:45. 28—Amy Cantrell (WR) 23:24. 30—Loni Unser (WR) 23:56. 32—Avery Closser (WR) 24:11. 35—Alyson Cavallo (WR) 24:29. 37—Hallie MacPherson (WR) 24:46. 45—Brooke Sundholm (WR) 25:53. 62—Alexandra Begley (WR) 27:27. 64—Chloe Lichtenberg (WR) 27:49. 77—Yisel Reigle (WR) 29:37. 79—Shelby Barnes (WR) 31:07 (83 runners).
Girls’ team: 1—Jerome 30. 2—Wood River 51. 3—Twin Falls 64. 4—Canyon Ridge of Twin Falls 93. 5—Burley 149. 6—Minico of Rupert 163 (6 schools).
Boys’ varsity: 1—Matthew Schenk (Twin Falls) 17:04. 2—Erik Nordquist (Jerome) 17:07. 7—Ty Reinemann (WR) 17:49. 12—Alexis Gonzalez (WR) 18:07. 20—Nathan Stouffer (WR) 18:35. 24—Nelson Cantrell (WR) 18:50. 28—Irvin Gonzalez (WR) 19:01. 30—Connor Hayes (WR) 19:07. 31—Wyatt Smith (WR) 19:07. 38—Sam Burns (WR) 19:22. 63—Kenny Pratt (WR) 20:33. 79—Jacob Halopoff (WR) 21:26. 87—Cooper Dean (WR) 21:53. 89—Cormac Heneghan (WR) 21:59. 90—Joseph Anderson (WR) 22:01. 91—Beckett Dykhouse 22:10. 96—Colby Castle (WR) 22:58. 105—Xavier Haemmerle (WR) 24:13. 110—Asher Loomis (WR) 24:34. 113—Ryan Halopoff (WR) 26:46 (117 runners).
Boy’s team: 1—Jerome 29. 2—Twin Falls 38. 3—Wood River 84. 4—Canyon Ridge 95. 5—Burley 130. 6—Minico 181.