NEW WORKS FROM ALEXIS DECECCO & SCOTT YOUNG
Submitted by Washington State Historical Society
On November 11, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison signed the proclamation admitting Washington to the Union and, with this year marking Washington’s 125th Anniversary, the Washington State Historical Society and the Office of the Secretary of State are hosting a celebration to honor the milestone. Taking place on November 11, 2014, at the Legislative Building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia, Washington, the event will feature a re-creation of the telegram delivery that announced Washington’s statehood at 3:09 p.m. making it precisely 125 years ago, along with music, dancing and, of course, cake. Washingtonians and local organizations are also encouraged to participate in a coordinated tweet saying: “Happy Birthday Washington #WA125” at exactly 3:09 p.m.
The focus of the day is to celebrate the past 25 years and to marvel at how far we have come since the Centennial. The celebration will kick off at 1 p.m. with the posting of the colors by the Marine Corps League Detachment 482 color guard, followed by the Star Spangled Banner sung by the Total Experience Gospel Choir. Special appearances include a blessing by the Squaxin Island Tribe and a welcome address by Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman at 1:10 p.m. Ralph Munro is the Master of Ceremonies. Girl Scouts will present birthday cards made by scouts all over the region to First Lady Mrs. Inslee in honor of the state’s birthday.
The opening service will end with a ceremony for the Capsule Keepers, which includes the initiation of 100 of Washington’s youth as “Washington State Keepers of the Capsule” where they will take an oath to preserve the time capsule and enlist new generations of Keepers every twenty-five years. More information on the Capsule Keepers can be found on their website.
A wide range of exciting musical and dance performances have been chosen to reflect the diversity of Washington in current times. The day will be filled with entertainment by the Olympia High School Band, Wenatchee High School’s mariachi band, Kim Archer, and the Oly Mountain Boys, a high-energy blue grass band.
Dance performances will range from b-boys to square dancing, with performances by the Massive Monkees, of “America’s Best Dance Crew” fame, square dancing by the Puddletown Squares Olympia Square Dance Inc., along with a Suquamish Tribe culture sharing.
Throughout the day, the Hands on Children’s Museum will provide activities for kids and there will be opportunities to tour the Legislative Building.
For those craving more history, a slide show will display centennial legacy projects from the last 25 years, memorabilia from the 1980 centennial celebration, the Washington State Constitution and Gilbert Stuart’s famous, one-dollar bill portrait of George Washington, courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum. In between activities and performances visitors can peruse additional exhibitions from state agencies, heritage groups and arts and culture organizations and enjoy a piece of the five-foot long, Washington-shaped cake.
The Washington State Constitution will be on display during the day as well at the Office of the Secretary of State, along with their new exhibit Washington 1889: Blazes, Rails & the Year of Statehood. OSOS will be hosting an opening reception from 4:00 – 6:00pm.
For more event information, visit: http://www.washingtonhistory.org/support/heritage/wa125/.
Submitted by The Landing at Hawks Prairie
The month of November brings chillier temperatures, fall leaves, and an acknowledgment of the holidays right around the corner. It’s during this time of year that those struggling with hunger need our help more than ever. With heating bills climbing and expenses high this time of year, donating to the Thurston County Food Bank is more important than ever.
The Landing at Hawks Prairie is a plaza of retail shops and restaurants that have joined together to help combat hunger. Participating stores throughout the plaza are collecting food for the Thurston County Food Bank all month long. And, those shops are giving you an extra incentive to donate when you visit the shopping complex. Participating stores are offering free items or significant discounts when you support the food drive.
Participating Businesses include Hand and Stone Massage, Cricket, Jack and Jill’s Children’s Haircuts, Menchies and many more.
While it’s easy to grab a bag of pasta or few bags of Top Ramen, the food bank has some specific, more nutrient dense items that they would like to encourage you to donate.
Please consider adding one or more of these items to your shopping list this November. Then, bring it by The Landing at Hawks Prairie and show your support of the Thurston County Food Bank. The Food Bank serves over 1400 children each week. There are many hungry families right here in our community. We hope to help ease that hunger this holiday season.
Poetry on Buses, one of King County’s most beloved public art programs, is back!
Every day, thousands of people ride the bus—to commute to work, visit family, go to school, travel to special events, and return home. The bus is a unique public space—rich with stories, character and poignant vignettes. It’s a space where, for a short while, all of us are going in the same direction.
What began in 1992 as a presentation of poetry from the local community on placards found right above the bus seats continues today. New this year: poems (and workshops) in five languages, an online poetry portal, and a focus on RapidRide.
The poems …are written by the person across the aisle, that kid in the back and the professional poet alike. A partnership between 4Culture and Metro Transit, Poetry on Buses is a celebration of local voices.
Wouldn’t it be great to do this project in Thurston County via Intercity Transit?
By Drew Crooks
A number of memorials on Olympia’s State Capital Campus honor those who have served in the armed forces of the United States. They include the “Winged Victory” Memorial, POW/MIA Memorial, Medal of Honor Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and World War II Memorial. There is also a Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial on the Campus.
Yet, there is another local war memorial that is perhaps less remembered. That is the Soldiers’ Monument in Tumwater’s Masonic Memorial Park. This memorial, located in the cemetery’s north section close to Cleveland Ave. SE, was erected in 1902 to honor the Washington State soldiers who fought in the Spanish-American/Philippine-American War.
The Soldiers’ Monument, as described in a Morning Olympian newspaper article of February 15, 1902, “consists of a granite pedestal twelve feet high, upon which rests the [bronze] figure of a soldier in campaign uniform in the position of parade rest.” There is a simple inscription on the pedestal: “The State of Washington Erects This Monument In Memory Of Her Valiant Sons.” To the northeast of the memorial are buried ten soldiers who died in the turn of the century conflict. More recent graves surround the monument on its other sides.
What is the story behind the Soldiers’ Monument? The Spanish-American/Philippine-American War (1898-1902) brought the United States onto the world stage. Some residents of Washington State participated in the conflict as members of the First Washington Regiment, United States Volunteers. This unit fought in the Philippine Islands for six months, suffering causalities from both battle and disease. The regiment returned to America, and on October 31, 1899 was mustered out of federal service.
As early as May 1899 planning and fund raising efforts started in Olympia for a memorial for the First Washington Regiment soldiers who perished in the war. These efforts had stalled by 1900.
Then on February 16, 1900 the local Masonic group, Olympia Lodge #1 F&AM, decided to present to the Washington State government a section of land in their Tumwater cemetery for the burial of First Washington Regiment dead. This generous offer was promptly accepted by the state.
Olympia witnessed an event on March 18, 1900 that brought together both local people and visitors. Elaborate memorial services were held on that date in the Olympia Opera House on 4th Avenue for nine unclaimed dead from the First Washington Regiment. Afterwards, their bodies were brought in a procession to the Masonic Cemetery and buried in the land donated by the lodge. An estimated 3,000 people attended the ceremony at the cemetery. Later a tenth soldier was interned next to his comrades.
A growing number of people now felt that a monument was needed to honor the Washington State soldiers who fought and died in the Spanish-American/Philippine-American War. In December 1900, Adjutant General Edward Fox of the Washington National Guard suggested in a report to Governor John Rogers that part of the money appropriated by the state legislature for the burial of soldiers could be used to erect a monument at the Masonic cemetery.
The suggestion met with general public approval. On February 16, 1901 the Washington House of Representatives approved the creation of a monument at the cemetery. Three days later, however, the Senate voted for a monument that would be placed at Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia. This difference in opinion might reflect a nation-wide debate at the time on whether memorials should be located in cemeteries or parks.
Negotiations led to an agreement by both houses on March 11: $2500 would be appropriated for a soldier’s monument overlooking the graves at the Masonic Cemetery. Governor Rogers signed the bill later in March, and a committee was set up to choose a builder for the monument. Members included the Governor, Adjutant General Fox, and Colonel J. J. Weisenburger. After several delays, the committee picked William C. Crosbie of Seattle on June 6, 1901 to do the project.
By January 25, 1902 the memorial’s bronze statue arrived in Olympia. Soon the work of erecting the monument at the Masonic Cemetery began. The Morning Olympian newspaper on February 15 reported that the Soldiers’ Monument had been completed, and added that the memorial “has the appearance of permanence which would indicate that it could stand for ages.” Henry McBride, who became Governor of Washington after the death of John Rogers on December 26, 1901, officially inspected the monument on the first day of March in 1902.
Ground beautification work would come later (in 1903), but the Soldiers’ Monument now stood near the ten graves of those who died in the Spanish-American/Philippine-American War. This statute became the center point of local Memorial Day ceremonies on May 30, 1902. Many people attended what was in a sense the dedication of the memorial.
For a time the Soldiers’ Monument was a center of Memorial Day activities in Thurston County. Later the holiday’s local focus switched to the State Capital Campus with the construction of memorials honoring individuals from more recent wars. However, the Soldiers’ Monument has remained part of Memorial Day observations. Just recently a Boy Scout Eagle project added next to the memorial two flag poles flying the United States and POW-MIA flags. Thoughtful visitors to the cemetery, now known as Masonic Memorial Park, can still see the stature and remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for their country over a century ago.
Note: The First Washington Regiment dead buried near the Soldiers’ Monument in Tumwater’s Masonic Cemetery include Corporal Henry Leinbacher, Company G; Privates F. C. Bushman, Company K; Daniel Campbell, Company M; Damian Grossman, Company C; Frank A. Lovejoy, Company C; Nickolas C. Polley, Company D; Edward H. Perry, Company I; Albert J. Ruppert, Company H; Frank Smith, Company E; and John Smith, Company K. Also Rev. John R. Thompson, Chaplain for the First Washington Regiment, is interred elsewhere in the cemetery.
By Gale Hemmann
Listening. It’s a valuable skill, and one that often goes unnoticed in our society. Whether it’s listening to families to help connect them with social services, or “listening” to the stories told by history, listening is something Deb Ross does very well.
Deb Ross wears many hats in the community. From volunteering to researching local history, the common thread is Ross’ interest in people and her compassion for their stories. Ross and I met at Phoebe’s Pastry Café in West Olympia to talk more about her writing and life work. She is always listening to or writing about others, so I wanted to ask Ross more about her own story. Over coffee, the warm and personable Ross told me about her new book, Tales from Schneider’s Creek, and her involvement in the community.
Ross was born in Manhattan, and grew up along the East Coast. She moved to Olympia 25 years ago where she met her future husband, Brian Hovis. After a career in law and energy policy, Ross shifted to part-time work while she raised her young son. She started looking for volunteer opportunities in the area. Ross soon found herself involved with many groups, from the prairie restoration work to the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation. At OUUC, she sings in the choir and is co-chair of the Pastoral Care Team, a listening ministry of the church. She is a long-time member of Samba Olywa.
A friend suggested she talk to Shelly Willis, who was starting Family Education and Support Services (FESS). The two met, and Ross began volunteering in 2000. She has been a key part of the organization’s work ever since.
Using Compassion to Connect Families and Resources
Family Education and Support Services provides resources, education and classes for parents and families in our community. Deb Ross has provided office support since before the organization was formally founded, creating a database and helping the fledgling nonprofit develop their infrastructure in countless ways. For nearly 15 years, Ross has volunteered about 30 hours a month answering phones, registering families for classes, and helping out wherever needed.
I spoke with Shelly Willis, Executive Director at Family Education and Support Services. She can’t say enough about what Deb’s work has meant to her and the organization over the years. Willis says Ross was motivated to volunteer because of her own role as a mother and her desire to help parents connect with resources they need. Her kind nature puts people who call or visit FESS at ease. Willis says of Ross, “She gets along with everyone. Deb is a role model that other parents can not only look up to, but rely on as well.” In fact, Ross even got her son Jamie Hovis interested in volunteering – he has helped out at FESS and other groups.
Willis says Deb Ross has been invaluable because she is always paying attention to people’s needs and how the organization can better meet them. “She’s a great listener,” says Willis. For example, her listening skills and calm demeanor have been very helpful in talking to people who are signing up for a divorce class. Ross also currently edits the Family Education and Support Services newsletter, which Willis says has been helpful in letting people know more about what the organization does. Ross suggested having someone present to greet and direct people for a Saturday class, and the suggestion improved attendance dramatically. She also suggested having resources available in multiple languages. She has also updated the agency’s written resources to reflect broader understandings of what it means to be a family. “She’s always paying attention – she’s very detail-oriented,” says Willis.
Willis says Ross’ volunteer work has been absolutely vital in getting the organization where it is today. “We literally couldn’t have done it without her,” she notes.
A New Book: Tales from Schneider’s Creek Chronicles Life of Olympia Family
Another occasion for my meeting with Deb Ross? She recently published her second book, Tales from Schneider’s Creek. This busy community volunteer also has a love of local history. In 2009, she published the book Konrad and Albertina, about an early Olympia-area family. The book was based on historical research about Konrad Schneider and his family, real Olympia residents. Intrigued by accounts of the Schneiders in historic newspapers, Ross began delving into the Schneider family history, initiating a project that has now lasted ten years.
One wonderful outcome of her first book is that it brought together many of the Schneiders’ descendants, some of whom had never met and many of whom still live locally. The family and Ross were given a personal tour of the New Dungeness lighthouse Konrad Schneider once built. Her work has made a lasting impact on the family – just one more example of how Ross lends her thoughtful and caring nature to everything she does.
Her new book, Tales from Schneider’s Creek, continues to follow the Schneider family. It follows each of Konrad Schneider’s nine children as their lives unfold against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Olympia. The book is the culmination of six years of research and writing. For both books, Ross says her approach was to write them as “historical fiction,” based in fact but giving Ross permission to create dialogue and use her imagination to bring the characters to life. She wanted her books to appeal not only to history buffs but to anyone who enjoys a good story and is curious about what life was like in Olympia at the time.
Ross devoted a lot of time to developing each character. Ever the meticulous researcher, she used historical sources as well as interviews with Konrad’s descendants and local historians to flesh out each character’s personality and story. In fact, to better understand the struggles of one of the sons, Ross enlisted the help of a local psychologist friend. She provided him with some historical records and the draft of her book, and asked him to analyze and “diagnose” the character. She used this information to craft his character in a way that was likely true-to-life.
Having thoroughly explored their stories, Ross is ready to let the characters of Schneider’s Creek out into the world to meet readers. She says she is getting ready for her next project, though she’s not sure what that will be yet. With Ross, you can be sure it will be something interesting, and something that will impact people in a positive way.
You can order The Tales from Schneider’s Creek on Amazon and as a Kindle e-book. Orca Books will soon be carrying copies. And Ross anticipates that copies will be available at the Olympia Timberland Library in the near future.
There will be a special book release event at the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Saturday, December 6, 2014. In an interesting coincidence, the church also happens to sit on property once owned by the Schneiders. If you are interested in attending, please email Deb Ross at email@example.com for details.
Ross’ books about the Schneiders stemmed from her work at the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, her other major volunteer role. She serves as the webmaster, handles outreach, and writes the newsletter for the society. (They recently added the 400th location to the “Where Are We?” interactive map on their website, a milestone for which Ross penned this ThurstonTalk article.) She also travels weekly to Tacoma to catalog the State Capital Museum’s photograph collection, now housed at the Washington State Historical Society. Clearly, to Ross, whether they are historical or contemporary, people’s stories matter.
As we wound down our interview, I reflected on what a pleasure it was to meet Deb Ross. Though very modest about her accomplishments, Ross is truly one of the people who make great things happen here in Olympia. In fact, she and her husband were honored with the City of Olympia’s prestigious Heritage Award for their work.
Submitted by Tumwater Auto Spa
Tumwater Auto Spa, along with over 2,200 other car wash locations across the nations will provide free car washes to veterans and current military service personnel, under the Grace For Vets Free Wash Program on Tuesday, November 11 from 8 am – 6 pm. VIP Carwashes will be given rain or shine. The free VIP washes are given to honor and recognize those that have and are serving in the armed forces.
Grace For Vets was founded by Mike Mountz, former owner of Cloister Wash & Lube, in Ephrata, PA in 2004. Mountz vowed to find a way to honor veterans when he served and saw first-hand amputees and the seriously wounded at the Veterans Hospital in Valley Forge, PA.
Several years after opening his first car wash, he started the Grace For Vets Free Wash Program. With the help of car washes across the country who participate, more and more military servicemen and women are recognized each year through this program. “This day is not about the car wash operators who are providing the free washes, it’s about honoring and recognizing those that have and are serving and protecting our country”, says Denise Hardcastle, owner of Tumwater Auto Spa. “It’s an exciting and emotional day for everyone. Our management team and employees look forward to giving back to those that have given so much.”
For Tumwater Auto Spa location or to obtain more information call 360-943-9096 or visit www.tumwaterautospa.com or www.graceforvets.org.
Being a baby boomer I barrage John Erwin, owner of John Erwin Remodeling with questions about the changes to our home that will allow us to stay there as we get older. Today it is called “aging in place”.
John Erwin is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), one of the first in Washington State to earn his certification a decade ago. I am thinking I hit the mother lode of advice for staying in our one-story home and never having to move again. With nearly a third of the population in Thurston County over 55, there are probably many who feel the same way.
“These simple home solutions for seniors can allow them to safely live in their home independently,” says Erwin. “There is one that is the simplest in the world,” Erwin smiles broadly. “You are going to laugh. C’mon.”
John Erwin leads the way through the company’s showroom and offices. I am intrigued. As we enter the office bathroom, he points out the bathroom door with offset hinges so it opens wider, a great idea for seniors with a walker or wheelchair.
“But that’s not the simplest thing in the world,” John reassures me. The suspense is killing me.
Erwin, past president of the Olympia Master Builders and owner of the award winning company, easily slips a toilet paper roll off a metal holder with an open end. “No dropping and fumbling. How many times have you tried to change the roll and dropped it?” Yep, he’s right.
“But the most important thing in any home is to eliminate trip hazards, the land mines, like big, thick rugs,” Erwin continues. “Falls are more frequent in the dark, so seniors need a light switch by their bed.”
Eliminating steps is another key John advises. “When you only have one step up in front of your house it is easy to pour concrete for a gradual ramp. You wouldn’t even know it was a ramp.”
As he talks, I think, “I want John Erwin to walk through our home and show us what we can do to age in place.” Turns out, they do that kind of assessment.
I’m holding off on the boxes and moving trucks.
Call John Erwin Remodeling, Inc for a quote at (360) 705-2938. Visit their website at John Erwin Remodeling, Inc.
Submitted by Saint Martin’s University
Jazz and blues vocalist Dennis Hastings, who has played on the same bill with notable talent such as Bobby McFerrin, John Lee Hooker and The Marcels, will bring his repertoire of tunes made popular from the 1940s to the 2000s during the next Music @ 11 recital at Saint Martin’s University. The musical series is free and open to the public and the concert will take place Tuesday, November 18, at 11 a.m. in Kreielsheimer Hall, the theatre arts building, on the Saint Martin’s University campus, 5000 Abbey Way SE.
“I am pleased to be able to bring Dennis Hastings on campus to perform this diverse genre of music,” says Darrell Born, director of music, associate professor of music and chair of the Department of Fine Arts. “Jazz is such an important part of our American culture. I am thrilled to bring such a quality and varied example of vocal jazz to our campus community and students.”
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Hastings has been singing jazz and blues in the Northwest for more than 30 years. His focus has recently been on producing a CD that will include musicians who are living and performing in the Pacific Northwest. Hastings has also been involved with performing the arrangements of the late Mel Tormé. His range of music includes many of Frank Sinatra’s hits, as well as songs by Sting and Stevie Wonder. A wide selection of classic blues is also a mainstay of his sets whenever he performs.
During his Music @ 11 performance, Hastings will be accompanied by Phil Lawson on guitar, Steven Luceno on bass and Steven Bentley on drums.
Hastings lives with his wife, Beverly, in Olympia and can be seen in venues from Seattle to the Portland area.
Born created the “Music @ 11” recital series, now in its 10th year, to raise awareness of the musical arts and provide opportunities for students and the community to experience various kinds of music in a recital setting.
Submitted by Hartley Jewelers
When James Dallas’ grown children, Kate and Ian, each asked him to retrieve special family jewelry pieces from the safe deposit box, he didn’t hesitate.
First, his daughter Kate wanted to see his mother’s wedding ring, a vintage piece from her marriage to James’ father, which she’d had re-set with a circle of diamond chips after her divorce.
“My daughter has been dating a young man she met at college at the University of California at Santa Cruz,” James explains. “She thought it was horrendous that I dated my wife for six years – and then she ended up dating him for 12 before they got married!”
The couple was getting serious, but there’d been no proposal. Kate heard about her grandmother’s wedding ring – which had been cleaned, preserved and appraised by Rick and his staff at Hartley Jewelers – and wanted to see it.
James took her down to the safe deposit box and had her try it on. It fit perfectly.
“She beamed and said she wanted it,” James says. “I said fine, and she wore it from then on – but she hadn’t been proposed to yet!”
All of her friends thought she’d gotten engaged, but she simply liked the ring.
“And of course my now son-in-law, being a bit like me – frugal, we don’t call it cheap – didn’t have to buy a wedding ring,” James says, laughing.
A second story shares the same frantic dash to the safe deposit box.
James and Shirley Dallas were married for 38 years before she passed away last fall after a long battle with cancer. The couple had designed their matching gold and jade wedding rings themselves.
“People – particularly women cashiers – would always comment. ‘Oh, what a lovely ring,’” James remembers fondly.
When Shirley died, James quietly placed her wedding ring in a safe deposit box.
“I have a six-month-old granddaughter, Nora, who I thought might get it someday.” His son had a different idea.
“My son scared me no end,” James says. “He never dated anybody for very long, though I found out later that he was celebrating the one-year anniversary with his girlfriend.”
When Ian asked James to retrieve his late wife Shirley’s wedding ring, again he did as asked.
“I got it and mailed it to him,” James remembers. “I should have sent it special delivery, insured – but again, I’m frugal. Thankfully, it arrived safely.”
Shirley’s wish for James was that he find a special woman to share his life with not long after she was gone. He feels fortunate to have done that.
“My girlfriend and I were on a trip and kept calling Ian, asking: ‘What happened? Did you pop the question? What did she say?’” James recounts. “Finally, we got a text: ‘Yes to both!’ She loves the ring, so my wife’s loss will be her gain.”
In both cases, James turned to Hartley Jewelers to clean, preserve and appraise the rings before putting them in storage. And now both pieces have new hands on which to sparkle and be appreciated.
“These rings are precious; they can never be replaced,” James answers, when asked why he turned to Hartley Jewelers for their care. “I trust them.”
“It’s like old photos,” he continues. “When you go in and hand over precious, once-in-a-lifetime pictures that could never be replaced, to have them copied or put on a DVD from slides, you don’t go just anywhere; you go to the place and people you like and trust. It was the same with these rings and Hartley Jewelers.”
James is already thinking about future jewelry purchases – and knows just where he’ll go.
“As needs come up – as they most certainly will – for more jewelry to celebrate important events in my life and the lives of loved ones, the very first place I will go to is Hartley Jewelers.”
400 Cooper Point Rd SW #2
Olympia, WA 98502
By Gail Wood
From coach to runners, nobody on the Olympia High School boys cross-country team is surprised they are heading to the 4A state meet with aspirations of finishing in the top four.
It’s just not the cast that coach Jesse Stevick anticipated they’d be winning with.
Peter Kesting, who placed seventh at state last year, was supposed to be leading the way. But a hamstring injury reduced Kesting to a fan, a spectator who could only cheer for all but a couple of meets this season.
“It’s been a blow not having him up there,” Stevick said about Kesting. “But we’ve had guys who have stepped up. Guys who we didn’t think would be playing as big a role.”
The story this year has been about the guys who weren’t necessarily going to win a race, but have cut their times dramatically – guys like James McClintock, the Bears’ No. 5 runner who has dropped a minute and a half off his 5K times. Or, Noah Murray, who ran a personal best 16:41 this season after running an 18 flat as a freshman in his first year of cross country.
“We all knew we had to go faster,” said Murray, who is his team’s No. 4 runner.
And then there’s Ben Riley, a junior who finished his last race with a personal best 17:08. Last year in just his second season of cross country, his PR was 18:30.
Or, how about Rapacz? In just his second year of cross country, a determined Rapacz is running his 5K races a minute and a half faster at 16 flat, moving him up to the team’s top runner and earning him an eighth place finish at district.
“It’s a matter of a lot of training and hard work,” Rapacz said about dropping his times.
However, Rapacz didn’t get the miles in over the summer that he had hoped. Having his appendix removed in August got in his way. Then he also sprained his ankle in early June. Combined, the cranky appendix and sore ankle cost him four weeks in conditioning.
“Doctors said I could run after I was off the heavy duty pain meds,” Rapacz said. “But it took about two weeks.”
After running about 400 miles over the summer a year ago, Rapacz only got in about 215 this past summer heading into his senior year. Yet going into state, he was still planning on running a lifetime best 15:45.
“For me, I think it will be a matter of picking up my overall pace,” Rapacz said. “I need to stick with the front pack of guys at the state meet. I was able to do that at districts meet last week.”
It’s also a matter of believing he can.
“Usually, I have to tell myself I’m capable of running with the top group,” he said.
With Kesting out recovering from an injury for most of the season, Rapacz knew he had to run faster, helping to fill the gap. In an odd way, Kesting’s absence – certainly a negative – has been a positive. It’s pushed everyone to get better.
“We’ve all stepped up,” Rapacz said.
Another Bear to blossom this year is Jacob Rossi. In just his second year of cross country, Rossi has dropped his personal best in the 5K from 18:40 to 16:40, a whopping two-minute improvement. His explanation for his dramatic time drop is simple.
“Well, my first year I didn’t train that much,” Rossi explained. “I had a lot of fun. I decided to train a lot this summer and prepare for the season.”
So, he upped his weekly training to about 50 miles a week. And now he’s running No. 3 on the team. All the running has been the key to his success and to his fun.
“It’s been tons of fun,” he said. “This season has been awesome. This is definitely the best team I’ve ever been on.”
McClintock, who is a senior, started running cross country as a sophomore and had fun last year as a junior. But, he admits, the emphasis was on having fun. Then a leg injury slowed his training over the summer yet still his times have dropped, going from the mid 18s to low 17s and placing him as the Bears’ No. 5 runner.
“I feel like I can go faster,” McClintock said.
Kesting’s pestering leg injury first showed up last winter when he upped his hard workouts, preparing for track. He was running 80 miles a week, with 55 miles of that run at a 6-minute mile pace.
“I didn’t give my body enough time to recover,” Kesting said.
He was still able to run in a couple of meets in track last spring. And yet even with the tender hamstring he still was able to break his school record in the 1,600 meters by running a 4:11.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that again in track season once I get healthy,” said Kesting, who has been talking with coaches from the University of Washington about running there.
With the injury, Kesting did some “cross training” over the summer. He rode his bike – by himself – to Mexico, doing the 1,600 miles in three weeks. Next summer, before heading off to college, he plans on doing another bike adventure. This time he’s planning on peddling across Europe, going from Portugal to “maybe Siberia.”
“It would be cool,” Kesting said excitedly, flashing a wide grin. “My parents know I really want to go out there on a big adventure.”
Now, after dropping out of last week’s Westside Classic district meet because of tightness and pain in his upper hamstring, Kesting went into the meet hoping for a strong race to finish off his high school career in cross country. But even with Kesting not finishing, Olympia still placed fourth.
“It’s been frustrating,” Kesting said about his injury. “But stuff happens.”
The Olympia Bears will be running in the state meet on Saturday, November 8 – hoping good stuff happens.