Frank Workman on Sports: Shorecrest girls take 1st and 2nd at Cross-Country Districts

Monday, October 29, 2018

Lilly Visser (l), Lauren Block (r)
Photo courtesy Visser and Block families
By Frank Workman

A few years ago at the District Finals track meet, a meet official wandered over to the pole vault area to watch the boys perform. He stood next to three outstanding distance runners from one school who were admiring their efforts.

One commented “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to fly like that?”. 

Her teammate responded “Wouldn’t it be nice to compete in something that didn’t hurt every time we did it”.

Such is the life of a long-distance runner. Lots of long, lonely, largely unnoticed workouts designed to push the body’s limits to painful exhaustion.

For two highly competitive Shorecrest seniors Saturday, their hours of dedicated exertion bore the fruits of victory at the District One 3A Cross Country meet at South Whidbey HS.

Lilly Visser won the District Championship with a time of 19:02, while teammate Lauren Block (two-time District Champion in the 800 meters) ran second in 19:22 over the 5,000 meter course.

Full race results are here.

These two are no strangers to the readers of these pages. Their previous exploits have been chronicled here. (See previous article)

Visser in front, Block second
Photo courtesy Visser and Block families

After the race, the two talked about their strategy going into the race.

"I thought it would be smart to let the Edmonds-Woodway girls set the pace," said Visser. With a GPA of 3.9, she’s knows what smart is.

“About halfway through, the pace seemed pretty moderate, so I took the lead.”

Block, who carries a GPA just a hair higher (3.956) than her teammate, commented “Our goal going into the race was to finish 1 and 2, so I’m glad we were able to do that. When Lilly took the lead back in the woods, I just decided to go with her. I wanted to get closer to her while building more distance between myself and the Ed-Way girls”.

Visser #1 atop the podium and Block #2 to her right
Photo courtesy Visser and Block families

The two took time to reflect on what running has done for them.

Visser — “Running has provided an outlet in my life that allows me to take a break from the stress that school brings, and challenges me in a way that nothing else does. The combined mental and physical training always challenges me but it has brought really great rewards”.

Among those rewards, Lilly is weighing her college choices, with Seattle U., Gonzaga, and Loyola-Marymount under consideration. She also volunteers with the Pink Polka Dot Guild, an inspiring local charity that raises funds for pediatric cancer research.

Block — “Running has given me so many great opportunities, taking me to outstanding meets like NXR, Seaside, and the Oregon Relays. The biggest plus is most of my closest friends in high school I’ve made through running cross-country and track”.

Block has agreed to attend the University of Portland next year.

The two train together, nearly year-round. Chances are if you’ve been driving in LFP or near the Shorecrest campus and have seen a pair of teenage girls running through the neighborhood, it’s been these two.

They keep a record of every workout, and have even calculated how many miles they’ve run together since their freshman year.

As they prepare for next Saturday’s State Finals at Sun Willows Golf Course over in Pasco, they’ll both go over the 4,000 mile mark.

And I’ll bet every single mile brought its own degree of pain.


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