Even Smoke Is Not Strong Enough For IHS’s Speed 

Max Cauchi, Staff Writer

The Issaquah boys’ varsity cross country team just won their meet against the combined forces of Eastlake high school and Newport high school with the top four runners being all Issaquah students. The course for the race was new to the team and Junior Ilyaas Motiwalla even stated that “Five laps is mentally challenging.” The smoke and unexpected heat increased the difficulty of the race, but Issaquah’s team came through and won the race. Originally, the race was going to be more about “tempoing”, which means running at a slower pace than what you can run, so that the cross-country team must be well-rested for the King County competition. 

The smoke from the forest fires happening all over the Pacific Northwest was blown in from high winds, which was dangerous for the runners and can also affect their time. Motiwalla stated that “the smoke and heat were not good.” Being outside during the race without even running affected my breathing capabilities so running through the smoke is even worse. The heat was not any better, as the increased temperatures make motivation much harder to find and increase the difficulty of the race. The Issaquah cross-country team had lots of injured players as well which led to a lot of runners taking it slow. Even so, Issaquah started off strong leading the race. But those runners could not keep up the pace for the rest of the race and slowly started to fall back into the main group. But one student pushed through and never slowed down, keeping a strong lead against an Eastlake runner who tried to keep pace with him. But the gap between them kept growing every lap. Eventually, three more Issaquah students started to gain a bit of distance from the rest of the main pack and caught up to the Eastlake student. These students ended up being second, third, and fourth place with a dash into the finish line which was crowded with supporters and racers. 

 The varsity team set a good example for the junior varsity team that would race soon after them, showing perseverance with multiple runners running through injuries pushing their limits and getting first place. Overall, the meet was a great peak at what is to come for the all mighty King County race.