ISSAQUAH - Mike Kamm was not worried that through 2 1/2 miles of the 3.1-mile Lake Sammamish cross-country course, Habtamu Aregaw was close behind him. An 800-meter runner during track season, Kamm knew he still had a burst left.
"I wanted to kick it in," said Kamm, a senior at Interlake. "If I've got them from 800 to go, I've got it. I've got the speed right there."
Kamm's strategy worked, as he put 15 yards between himself and Lindbergh's Aregaw to win yesterday's boys Sea-King 3A District meet. Kamm finished in 15 minutes, 32.4 seconds - 11 seconds better than last week, when he won the KingCo 3A Conference meet on the same course.
"The competition is better," Kamm said. "They pushed me a lot harder."
Aregaw was surprised to have pushed Kamm at all. A nagging knee injury flared up in the last two weeks, making Aregaw, who ran last year for Kentlake, re-evaluate his goal.
"Today I just wanted to go to state," Aregaw said. "I just wanted to qualify in the top 30."
But as Aregaw ran yesterday, he said, his knee felt fine. He started among the top three, surged ahead in the first mile and led halfway through the race. He fell behind Kamm in the last half-mile, though, and almost lost second place to O'Dea senior Javon Broderick, whose closing sprint pulled him within a half-second of Aregaw at the finish line.
"I have no kick," Aregaw joked.
Broderick, the Metro League champion, finished in 15:40.1,
three-tenths of a second behind Aregaw. He was pleased with his performance but said lack of familiarity with the course hurt him.
Broderick was even with Kamm and Aregaw after about 2 miles, when he got beaten on a turn.
"I was going to cut it wide," Broderick said. "They put an immediate sprint, and both of them cut - boom - right in front of me. . . . I was like, `Whoa!' because I didn't see them coming, and I was immediately 10 yards down."
A wide gap separated the top three from the rest of the pack. Lakeside junior Peter Furia finished fourth in 15:58.9, two-tenths of a second ahead of Highline's Kevin Engelhardt, and helped the Lions grab the team title.
Lakeside scored 92 points, eight ahead of second-place O'Dea.
"They worked for this," Lakeside Coach Tom Pardee said. "I've never had a team that was this well in shape."
Four other teams also qualified for state: Interlake (127 points), Seattle Prep (133), Bellevue (156) and Blanchet (193). No Blanchet runner finished among the top 25, but the Braves passed Coach Leo Genest's test.
"I've trained myself over the years to look for each team's No. 5 runner," Genest said.
Blanchet's No. 5, Paul Elias, placed 48th, beating the No. 4 and 5 runners from the Braves' top competitors for sixth place, Highline, Mercer Island and Hazen.