Issaquah junior Julia David-Smith finished first at the 4A state meet on Nov. 9 in Pasco. Photo courtesy of Gwen Robertson

Issaquah junior Julia David-Smith finished first at the 4A state meet on Nov. 9 in Pasco. Photo courtesy of Gwen Robertson

Issaquah’s David-Smith wins 4A state cross-country meet

Heninger placed 46th and Hanson took 49th at the meet on Nov. 9.

Issaquah junior Julia David-Smith finished first with a time of 17:26.20 in the girls race at the 4A state cross-country championships on Nov. 9 in Pasco. Sophomore Darwin Hanson placed 49th in the girls race (19:22, a new personal record) and freshman Liam Heninger placed 46th in the boys race (16:12, a new personal record) to cap off a successful meet for the Eagles.

David-Smith finished second at the state meet last year, but this year it wasn’t close, finishing almost one minute ahead of the second-place runner. After being disappointed with her finish last year, David-Smith said she went into the state meet this year prepared.

“This year, I came into it a lot more mentally ready for the race,” David-Smith said. “Throughout the week prior, I made sure I slept well, got enough rest and ate well. I just did everything I had to do to be ready and I went in with the right mindset.”

Going into the race on Sun Willows Golf Course, David-Smith wanted to start fast and get ahead, which is exactly what she did, running the first mile in 5:24.2 and separating herself from the other runners.

“I just kept going,” David-Smith said. “I felt good the whole way. I just got into my mode and kept increasing the gap.”

Even though she’s spent the season running by herself at the front of the pack, Issaquah head coach Gwen Roberson said that doesn’t slow David-Smith down.

“There’s been very few kids, and we’ve had some good kids come through, who have understood how to really push themselves the whole way,” Robertson said. “I think (David-Smith) is really good at that, even when there’s nobody with her, she can still keep running hard. That’s not typical of young kids, a lot of them have to learn how to do that.”

David-Smith wasn’t the only Issaquah runner who improved their time from last year’s state meet. Hanson shaved almost one minute off her time of 20:21.7 from the state meet last year. Robertson said both Hanson and David-Smith benefited from their previous experience in the state meet.

“They knew what the course was going to run like and I think they were prepared for that, so it certainly helps,” Robertson said. “Also knowing that when you’re in a field of 160 kids, if you’re in 75th-100th place at the first mile, you’re actually in a pretty good position, you don’t panic and say, ‘Oh no, I’m too far back,’ Because you can still work your way through and end up where you want.”

Both Hanson and Heninger had to work their way through the field during their races. After the first mile, Hanson was in 81st, and Heninger was in 88th.

“I think both Heninger and Hanson wanted to be in the top 50, that was their goal, and they both did what they needed to do to be where the end result was,” Robertson said. “When you run a PR at a championship, it’s always extra special. It doesn’t always happen.”

In his first year with the team, Heninger was the only member of the boys team to qualify for the state meet. Robertson said she has been impressed with his maturity as a runner.

“(Heninger) just kind of knows what to do,” Robertson said. “He’s a very good competitor, it’s how he’s run the entire season.”

While running is hard, Robertson said the three runners proved that you can have fun and still race well.

“They had a lot of fun,” Robertson said. “They made gingerbread houses the night before in their hotel room. It didn’t last very long because architecturally, it wasn’t very sound. They had a lot of fun doing that, and that’s what I like to see. Running is hard, but it can also be a lot of fun.”

David-Smith said it was nice to have teammates with her the night before the meet so they could distract themselves and just have fun.

“Just keeping our minds off the race, it was relaxing,” David-Smith said. “The whole night was really fun.”

David-Smith will compete at the NXR Northwest Regional Championships on Nov. 16 in Boise, Idaho. Robertson said there will be tougher competition for her to race against.

“I’ll think she’ll give it a good shot and we’ll see where she comes out in that good field,” Robertson said. “She likes racing people. She’ll have that chance next week.”

With lots of talented runners awaiting at regionals, David-Smith said she is excited for the competition.

“I tend to kind of fall asleep in races,” David-Smith said. “No one is really around. It’s a lot different when I’m in a group of girls during a race. Sometimes it’s kind of intimidating, but it’s a lot more fun. I get to compete and challenge myself.”

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

Photo courtesy of Panthers Youth Rugby
Panthers Youth Rugby rolls into action

Panthers Youth Rugby is encouraging boys and girls in middle school and… Continue reading

Photo of Eastlake Little League’s All Star Team. From L to R: (Back row) Jackson Wheeler, Kellen Kinney, Sanath Chari, James Ort III, Sule Tian, Eli Jones, Pryce Eadon. (Front row) JJ Hamiltion, Sawyer Todd, Ryder Oswalt, Walter Steinbok, Logan Rausch, Harrison Militello. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Steinbok.
Eastlake’s time at Little League World Series comes to an end

The boys of Eastlake Little League’s 12U all-star team’s time at the… Continue reading

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Eastlake all-stars score spot in Little League World Series

Eastlake Little League’s 12U all star team was crowned Northwest Regional Champions… Continue reading

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

Issaquah notches girls soccer victory

Issaquah’s girls soccer team celebrates a goal during its 4-0 victory over… Continue reading

Registration open for Panthers Youth Rugby

By Sophie Demandolx Special to the Reporter If you are a teenager… Continue reading

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.