One point - just one measly point - has been sticking in the craw of the Sehome boys' cross country team for the past year.
That was all the Mariners finished behind Lindbergh at the Class 2A State Championships in 2011.
"I think it really drove home the stake for us," Sehome senior Conner Johnsen said. "We all felt pretty crappy about that, and I think that one point drove us all to work hard to make sure it wouldn't happen again. We all knew we couldn't have any easy days during workouts. We all knew that we had to do everything we could to get ready for state."
Because they did, Sehome once again sits atop the 2A standings.
For the second time in three years and the third time in seven, the Mariners claimed the 2A state title on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, scoring 81 points to beat out second-place Bellingham (93) and third-place Squalicum (103).
"We really came into the meet today with the mindset that no matter what happened, everything was going to be fine," senior Reed Henderson said. "We just needed to perform our best and try to get the win."
Sehome did just that, as Johnsen and Henderson each scored top-10 finishes to lead the way in their final cross country races for the Mariners. Johnsen finished third in 15 minutes, 16.6 seconds, while Henderson was just four spots back in seventh in 15:46.8.
"I thought Reed had the race of his life," Johnsen said. "He was right behind me at the two-mile mark. He held that spot as long as he could and just ran great. Kirby (Overman, 23rd in 16:20.2) and Liam (Toney, 28th in 16:26.9) also ran great races. We got the spacing we needed on Bellingham and Squalicum."
Nolan Jones in 64th (17:06.3) was Sehome's final scoring runner.
"It's an amazing feeling," Henderson said. "It's really indescribable. I'm so happy that we won, and to wrap up my high school career with a top-10 finish, you really can't ask for anything else."
Though Bellingham finished second, the Red Raiders could definitely understand that feeling, as they finally worked their way past city rival Squalicum.
"On Tuesday of last week, we had a team meeting, and we brought out a giant white board and we started to split people up and show where everybody needed to finish compared to Squalicum," senior Joe Charbonneau said. "We knew we all had to run a good race and come together to get a nice team finish, and that's exactly what we did. ... We've come up short of them three or four times in a row. It's nice to beat them on the big stage."
Charbonneau led the way for Bellingham with a strong finish to his senior season, placing fifth in 15:40.4.
"I just really decided to stick with Conner Johnsen for the first 21/2 miles and plow through to the finish," Charbonneau said. "He had a nice finish, and I was able to come in right behind him. It was fun running what I thought would be my last race with him, except now we get to do it again at Border Clash in a couple of weeks."
Brian Chmelik joined Charbonneau in the top 25 in 22nd (16:19.9), while Simon Maguire was 26th in 16:25.1, Jamie Sayegh was 44th in 16:51.7 and Jacob Stahl finished just outside the top 50 (51st in 16:56.3).
Though Squalicum had hoped for a better finish, the Storm was plenty pleased to bring home the third-place trophy and wrap up a city sweep of the top three spots, especially considering senior Patrick Gibson won his second straight individual crown.
"Our team ran really well," Gibson said. "I thought all three city schools ran phenomenal. The Bellingham guys ran great. I thought we ran great. It was just a little frustrating that they beat us."
Chris Fredlund placed 11th for the Storm in 16:00.7, while Nick Gallaher was 27th in 16:26.5 and senior Dylan Dubuque was 39th in 16:45.4 in his final race for Squalicum.
"Being up on the podium with those guys, it was the best feeling in the world, knowing that all that hard work had paid off," Dubuque said.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
WHATCOM COUNTY BOYS' TEAM STATE CHAMPIONS
School Year Class
Mount Baker 1973 1A
Mount Baker 1975 1A
Mount Baker 1986 1A
Sehome 2005 3A
Sehome 2008 2A
Nooksack Valley 2009 1A
Sehome 2010 2A
Sehome 2012 2A
WHATCOM COUNTY RESULTS
Pl. Runner Yr. School Time
1. Patrick Gibson Sr. Squalicum 15:13.6
3. Conner Johnsen Sr. Sehome 15:16.6
5. Joe Charbonneau Sr. Bellingham 15:40.4
7. Reed Henderson Sr. Sehome 15:46.8
11. Chris Fredlund Jr. Squalicum 16:00.7
22. Brian Chmelik Jr. Bellingham 16:19.9
23. Kirby Overman So. Sehome 16:20.2
26. Simon Maguire Jr. Bellingham 16:25.1
27. Nick Gallaher Jr. Squalicum 16:26.5
28. Liam Toney Sr. Sehome 16:26.9
39. Dylan Dubuque Sr. Squalicum 16:45.4
44. Jamie Sayegh Jr. Bellingham 16:51.7
51. Jacob Stahl Jr. Bellingham 16:56.3
53. Paris Speidel Sr. Bellingham 17:00.3
64. Nolan Jones So. Sehome 17:06.3
75. Dillon Rinauro So. Squalicum 17:16.9
78. Jared Radtke Jr. Squalicum 17:18.7
84. Peter Finfrock Sr. Sehome 17:23.1
96. North Bennett Jr. Squalicum 17:36.3
101. Rowan Chappell Sr. Bellingham 17:43.8
124. Nathan LeTavec Jr. Sehome 18:15.0
CLASS 2A STATE MEET
Team results: 1. Sehome 81, 2. Bellingham 93, 3. Squalicum 103, 4. Deer Park 135, 5. Cheney 169, 6. Selah 198, 7. Mark Morris 203, 8. Tumwater 211, 9. Sequim 235, 10. Lindbergh 238, 11. Capital 262, 12. White River 289, 13. Yakima West Valley 307. 14. Kingston 312, 15. Sumner 326, 16. Franklin Pierce 374.
Top individuals: 1. Patrick Gibson Squalicum) 15:13.6; 2. Poli Baltazar (Aberdeen) 15:16.6; 3. Conner Johnsen (Sehome) 15:37.5; 4. Sean Eustis (Washougal) 15:39.7; 5. Joe Charbonneau (Bellingham) 15:40.4; 6. Devon Grove (Lake Washington) 15:40.7; 7. Reed Henderson (Sehome) 15:46.8; 8. Daniel Amann (Deer Park) 15:47.9; 9. Isaac Stinchfield (Washougal) 15:49.3; 10. Logan Orndorf (Cedarcrest) 15:52.8.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.