ARLINGTON - They may have been hard to see underneath all the mud that got splashed up during the Class 2A District 1/2 Cross Country Championships, but the Sehome boys' team broke out the ugly socks on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Lakewood High School.
"I want to see more of those at state," coach Mark Kerr joked, pointing out a pair of socks striped in multiple colors that didn't belong together, even when they were completely clean and dry, on one runner and a pair of checkered flag socks on another.
Sehome will get a chance to use whatever type of socks it wants next week at the state meet in Pasco, as the Mariners locked up one of three team berths to state by winning the district title with 45 points.
"I thought we ran really well today," said Sehome senior Conner Johnsen, who placed third in 15 minutes, 58.2 seconds. "I looked back at one point, and we had three runners in the top six. I'm not really sure where Kirby (Overman) finished, but it was a good day. Really, it was a good day for all city schools. I'm watching a lot of guys we know finishing up front."
Squalicum (66 points) and Bellingham (73) placed second and third, respectively, ensuring that the top three teams in the latest Washington Cross Country Coaches' Association 2A boys' poll will get to compete for the state title. But it also meant that Anacortes, Cedarcrest and Lakewood - all teams that also made the latest top 10 - will not get to compete for a state title.
"I'm just glad we made it," Bellingham coach Bill McClement said. "We've been on the other side of that, too. This is such a tough district."
Especially when you have somebody like Patrick Gibson running at the head of the pack.
Gibson successfully defended his individual district title, winning by nearly 15 seconds with a time of 15 minutes, 41.6 seconds. Now he'll set his sights on trying to repeat at the state meet next week, as well.
"It's pretty cool," Gibson said. "I wanted to come out and run pretty quick, but my goal, obviously, is to be ready for next week and beyond. Those are the races I'm really focused on."
Gibson received early pressure from Lake Washington's Devon Grove, who remained on the senior's hip throughout the first half of the race.
"I wanted to go out fast and kind of blaze everybody," Gibson said. "He (Grove) stuck with me a little longer than I expected, but he started to fall off out back (during the second loop around the athletic complex)."
Grove almost gave up second to Johnsen, but the Sehome senior slipped down in the mud about three-quarters of the way through the 5,000-meter race.
"It's just something that happens on a day like this," said Johnsen, as he called for a first-aid kit to tend to his bloodied knees. "There is a 180-degree turn back there, and I just slipped in the mud. ... I knew I was right behind that Lake Washington guy, and there were some other runners coming up behind me, and I was like, 'There is no way I'm going to give up my spot just because I slipped.'"
He didn't, and he was joined in the top 10 by three other teammates - fifth-place Reed Henderson (16:04.6), seventh-place Kirby Overman (15:34.9) and 10th-place Liam Toney (16:29.9). Nolan Jones' 20th-place finish gave the Mariners five runners in the top 20.
Like Squalicum, Bellingham kept the pressure on Sehome for the team title, as the Red Raiders had six runners finish in the top 25.
"We've been doing a lot of pack running, and I think that's really helped us," senior Brian Chmelik said. "We kind of pull each other along, and that helps us put the pressure on Sehome's guys."
Chmelik actually put a little pressure on Joe Charbonneau, as well, as he passed his teammate coming to the finish line to come across as the Red Raiders' top finisher in eighth with a time of 16:22.1. Charbonneau was ninth in 16:23.0.
"Joe has helped me along so much this year," Chmelik said. "It was great to be able to push him like that and pay him back like that. Unfortunately, I had a little more left at the end than he did, but it was great running together again."
Joining them in the top 25 were teammates Simon Maguire in 14th, Paris Speidel 18th, Jamie Sayegh in 24th and Jacob Stahl in 25th.
Besides Gibson, Squalicum had Chris Fredlund place sixth in 16:09.1. They were joined in the top 25 by Storm teammates Nick Gallaher in 11th and Dylan Dubuque in 21st.
"I've been amazed by the way that all those guys have been running all year," Gibson said. "They've worked really hard to make us a stronger team that is capable of competing when this time of year rolls around."
Lynden finished 12th overall and was led by Robbie Swineford in 50th place.
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
CLASS 2A BOYS ON TO STATE
North Bennett* Squalicum
Rowan Chappell* Bellingham
Joe Charbonneau* Bellingham
Brian Chmelik* Bellingham
Dylan Dubuque * Squalicum
Peter Finfrock* Sehome
Chris Fredlund* Squalicum
Nick Gallaher* Squalicum
Patrick Gibson* Squalicum
Reed Henderson* Sehome
Conner Johnsen* Sehome
Nolan Jones* Sehome
Nathan LeTavec* Sehome
Simon Maguire* Bellingham
Kirby Overman* Sehome
Jared Radtke* Squalicum
Dillon Rinauro* Squalicum
Jamie Sayegh* Bellingham
Paris Speidel* Bellingham
Jacob Stahl* Bellingham
Liam Toney* Sehome
*Team rosters subject to change for state.
CLASS 2A DISTRICT 1/2 CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Lakewood High School
Team scores: 1. Sehome 45, 2. Squalicum 66, 3. Bellingham 73, 4. Anacortes 134, 5. Cedarcrest 143, 6. Lakewood 147, 7. Lake Washington 180, 8. Burlington-Edison 190, 9. Sammamish 248, 10. Archbishop Murphy 248, 11. Granite Falls 288, 12. Lynden 374, 13. Sedro-Woolley 392.
Top individual finishers: 1. Patrick Gibson (Squalicum) 15:41.6, 2. Devon Grove (Lake Washington) 19:56.8, 3. Conner Johnsen (Sehome) 15:58.2, 4. Logan Orndorf (Cedarcrest) 15:59.8; 5. Reed Henderson (Sehome) 16:04.5, 6. Chris Fredlund (Squalicum) 16:09.1, 7. Kirby Overman (Sehome) 16:17.9, 8. Brian Chmelik (Bellingham) 16:22.1; 9. Joe Charbonneau (Bellingham) 16:23.0; 10. Liam Toney (Sehome) 16:29.9.
Sehome: 3. Conner Johnsen 15:58.2, 5. Reed Henderson 16:04.5, 7. Kirby Overman 16:17.8, 10. Liam Toney 16:29.9, 20. Nolan Jones 16:55.0, 26. Nathan LeTavec 17:11.7, 33. Peter Finfrock 17:25.6.
Squalicum: 1. Patrick Gibson 15:41.6, Chris Fredlund 16:09.1, 11. Nick Gallaher 16:34.6, 21. Dylan Dubuque 16:56.7, 27. Jared Radtke 17:12.2, 36. Dillon Rinauro 17:32.1, 38. North Bennett 17:36.7,
Bellingham: 8. Brian Chmelik 16:22.1, 9. Joe Charbonneau 16:23.0, 14. Simon Maguire 16:43.3, 18. Paris Speidel 16:54.5, 24. Jamie Sayegh 17:07.1, 25. Jacob Stahl 17:11.5, 53. Rowan Chappell 18:05.7.
Lynden: 50. Robbie Swineford 15:55.9, 81. Nick Iaconetti 19:21.3, 82. Aiden McCaig 19:21.4, 83. Preetpal Sangha 19:21.6, 86. Eli Varner 19:52.5, 87. Alex Hathaway 19:52.7, 88. Anthony Ricci 19:54.9.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.