BELLINGHAM - Sehome sophomore Zanna Sullivan knew she had nobody but herself to blame on Saturday, Sept. 14, during the Fourth Annual Sehome Invitational cross country meet at Civic Stadium.
"Just before the race, I was talking with a friend, and we were saying, 'Oh, I've never tripped during a cross country race,'" Sullivan said. "Then I said, 'I'm probably going to jinx it.'"
Sure enough, as Sullivan rounded the hairpin turn above Frank Geri softball fields on her first loop, her feet slid out from under her and she went down to her side.
"I just started thinking, 'I probably shouldn't have ever talked about it,'" Sullivan said. "Other than that, I was trying to think, 'Stay calm and use it to your advantage.'"
Sullivan did exactly that, as she rallied to win the sophomore girls' race with a time of 12 minutes, 23 seconds on the 3,200-meter course, beating out second-place Nicole Vigjen of Kamiak by a second.
It was a nice improvement for Sullivan, after she finished third in the freshman girls' race a year ago, and she believes the slip, which left her left leg with a few scrapes and little bit of mud on it, might have actually helped her.
"I've really been working in my races, relaxing the first half, and then the second half really racing," Sullivan said. "I was trying to do that, and then when I slipped, that made me a little bit more adrenaline nervous. So I kind of used that as a method to speed up and get to my former position, and I kept going."
Joining Sullivan in the top 10 were teammates Dana Ringler (third), Aili Emory (sixth) and Rebekah Oviatt (ninth), Lynden Christian's Sarah Ball and Ferndale's Jillian Anderson.
Sehome had a runner place in the top two in the first six varsity races of the day, as the Mariners claimed the team titles on both sides. Regan Bervar's 17th-place finish in the senior girls' race helped Sehome overcome the loss of Abby Cybula to injury to beat out Bellingham 28-47 on the girls' side, while Kamiak was third with 57 points. Sehome held off Shorewood 32-35 for first place on the boys' side, while Kamiak was again third with 57.
Sehome's Riley Allsop had been waiting for his chance to show what he could do for more than a year. A stress fracture in his ankle wiped out his freshman season, and Saturday marked his first "real race."
He didn't waste the opportunity, as he sprinted to victory in the sophomore boys' event in 10:26. Inglemoor's Nick Laccinole was 11 seconds back in second place.
"It was awesome," Allsop said.
Winning in the Mariners' green and gold was particularly rewarding considering Allsop is the son of former Sehome state champion runner Brett Allsop.
"It's pretty exhilarating (to follow in his father's footsteps)," Allsop said. "I'm glad that I'm running for Sehome and still keeping my father's legacy alive."
Joining Allsop in the top 10 were Ferndale's Roberto Aguilera (fourth), Bellingham's Sam Gillman (sixth) and Sehome's Colton Johnsen (seventh).
The response from Mount Baker's bewildered and exhausted Kelsie Nern when her family and coaches told her she finished third in 12:36 - "What?"
"Yeah, I'm in shock," she said, "because I'm the one who's usually getting lapped."
Don't let Nern fool you too much - she did qualify for the Class 1A State Championships as a junior and placed 33rd. But that didn't take away from Nern's shock after finishing strong despite a sore back she said she's working hard to get better.
"I just went out there and did my thing," said Nern, who finished four seconds ahead of fourth-place McKenzie Roque of Meridian.
Seattle Lakeside's Rebe Delacruz-Gunderson won the race in 12:14, while Bellingham's Sarah Rubin (seventh) and Maya Norton (eighth) also placed in the top 10.
As a veteran in the event, Squalicum's Chris Fredlund wanted to make sure he didn't go out too hard in the senior boys' race.
"Every year, I get too excited, and those hills kill me," Fredlund said. "This year, I went out a little slower, but I still just didn't have that kick to the finish. I've been tired all week - not to give excuses for my race. I'm really happy with my time, and the whole team ran really well."
And Fredlund would have needed something special to beat Terry Fox's Nathan Wadhwani, who clocked a winning time of 9:53 - the only sub 10-minute time of the day. Fredlund, who won his race as a junior, finished second in 10:13.
"I was just hoping to beat last year, and I'm pretty sure I did," Fredlund said. "I didn't get first, but I can't be mad with my place - second place is nothing to be ashamed of."
Bellingham's Brian Chmelik (sixth) and Simon Maguire (eighth) also had top-10 finishes.
After two years of being a young phenom for Sehome, two-time state champion Emily Pittis suddenly finds herself as one of the elder statesmen on an extremely talented, but very young Mariners roster.
"It's pretty crazy," Pittis said. "We don't have too many seniors, so it's like the seniors we do have and a lot of the juniors have to help along the younger kids. Our sophomores have stepped up. It's great, but it definitely feels weird to be on the other side."
It also was strange to see someone run away from Pittis, as Lakeside's Andrea Masterson won the junior girls' race in 11:27. Pittis was second in 11:57.
"She got me, and it was just too much to make up," Pittis said. "It's hard when you're that far behind to make yourself go faster. I wouldn't call it a good race."
Meridian's Lainey Lesh (fifth) and Bellingham's Leah Veldhuisen (sixth), Abby Walker (eighth) and Julia Latimer (10th) also had top-10 finishes.
After grabbing an event win as a sophomore, Sehome's Kirby Overman was the victim of a little payback in the junior boys' race, as Oak Harbor's John Rodeheffer, who finished second to Overman as a sophomore, pulled away late to win in 10:11. Overman was second on Saturday in 10:21.
"I would have liked to have won," Overman said. "It's hard to lose to anybody in this race, but I'm glad it was John. ... He's a good guy, and we've had a lot of close races the past two years."
The duo was neck-and-neck once again at the midway point as they rounded the all-weather track.
"On the uphill on the second loop, he took the turn a lot faster than me and got a couple of yards on me, and he was able to hold it," Overman said.
Meridian's Collin Magnusson (fifth), Squalicum's Dillon Rinauro (sixth) and Sehome's Ben Stalheim (ninth) also finished in the top 10.
Though she finished second to Seattle Lakeside's Sophie Cantine (11:47) in the freshman girls' race, Sehome's Ruby Watson was quite pleased with her run, as she reached her goal of completing the course in less than 12 minutes.
"I've raced Sophie Cantine before in the Junior Olympic National USA stuff, and she usually takes off a lot faster than me," Watson said, who ran a time of 11:58. "My plan was to try to stay a good distance behind her and then on the second loop try to catch her to push myself. ... The second loop I started picking up gradually, but I didn't quite catch her."
Watson's teammate Ellie Rowan-Arnett was right behind Watson in third (12:03).
"I haven't run with her a whole lot," Watson said of Rowan-Arnett. "I think it pushed me along and it pushed her to keep up with me."
Sehome also had Abby Johnson (ninth) and Amy Taylor (10th) in the top 10, while Bellingham had Madeline Prentiss finish seventh.
The Mariners' Bryce Johnson had a similar strategy to Watson entering the freshman boys' race.
"Just don't be in front and kind of take it from behind, and at the end kind of speed up and finish strong," Johnson said of his pre-race plan.
Johnson's nearly worked it to perfection, as he found himself in a three-way battle for the lead entering the stadium for the final time with Kamiak's Cullen McEachern and Shorewood's Chris Gerbino. McEachern ended up winning the final kick to claim the race in 11:03, but Johnson was right behind in 11:04.
"It was really tough," Johnson said. "Those three guys battled the whole time. It was all about the finish."
Sehome's Matt Karcher (fourth) and Logan Franey (10th) also finished in the top 10.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
3,200-meter course at Civic Stadium
Senior girls: 1. Rebe Delacurz-Gunderson (Seattle Lakeside) 12:14, 2. Alexandra Laiblin (Oak Harbor) 12:32, 3. Kelsie Nern (Mount Baker) 12:36, 4. McKenzie Roque (Meridian) 12:40, 5. Katie Studebaker (Burlington-Edison) 12:52. Other local top 25 finishers: 7. Sarah Rubin (Bellingham) 12:58, 8. Maya Norton (Bellingham) 13:04, 14. Nicole Burbank (Bellingham) 13:18, 17. Regan Bervar (Sehome) 13:23, 21. Clara Prentiss (Bellingham) 13:46, 22. Rayedeen Engels (Mount Baker) 13:52, 23. Chynna Phan (Mount Baker) 13:52, 25. Sierra Bishop (Bellingham) 13:56.
Senior boys: 1. Nathan Wadhwani (Terry Fox) 9:53, 2. Chris Fredlund (Squalicum) 10:13, 3. Keenan Stephens (Shorewood) 10:18, 4. Isaac Wadhwani (Terry Fox) 10:18, 5. James Hamilton (Bellevue Newport) 10:21. Other local top 25 finishers: 6. Brian Chmelik (Bellingham) 10:22, 8. Simon Maguire (Bellingham) 10:23, 14. Shelby Miles (Mount Baker) 10:43, 15. Davis Phillips (Meridian) 10:43, 16. Noah Ringler (Sehome) 10:44, 18. Nathan LeTavec (Sehome) 10:50, 19. Jared Radtke (Squalicum) 10:52, 21. David Anderson (Meridian) 10:58, 24. Justin Rinauro (Squalicum) 11:08.
Junior girls: 1. Andrea Masterson (Seattle Lakeside) 11:27, 2. Emily Pittis (Sehome) 11:57, 3. Amber Rose (Inglemoor) 12:05, 4. Jonalynn Horn (Oak Harbor) 12:36, 5. Lainey Lesh (Meridian) 12:43. Other local top 25 finishers: 6. Leah Veldhuisen (Bellingham) 12:46, 8. Abby Walker (Bellingham) 12:50, 10. Julia Latimer (Bellingham) 12:50, 11. Jessa Clark (Sehome) 12:59, 13. Hillary Kiele (Blaine) 13:08, 14. Katie Buss (Mount Baker) 13:30, 16. McKenzie Young (Lynden Christian) 13:41, 17. Kieya Villars (Blaine) 13:44, 20. Elsa Sandeno (Sehome) 13:49.
Junior boys: 1. John Rodeheffer (Oak Harbor), 2. Kirby Overman (Sehome) 10:21, 3. Killian Pinkelman (Seattle Lakeside) 10:24, 4. Omar Abdulla (Shorewood) 10:26, 5. Collin Magnusson (Meridian) 10:36. Other local top 25 finishers: 6. Dillon Rinauro (Squalicum) 10:38, 9. Ben Stalheim (Sehome) 10:43, 13. Alex Schneider (Sehome) 11:04, 16. Patrick Lisosky (Sehome) 11:10, 17. Tyler Caseria (Sehome) 11:10, 18. Chais Sugden (Squalicum) 11:11, 21. Derek Morrow (Meridian) 11:16, 24. Dylan Tomberlin (Squalicum) 11:19.
Sophomore girls: 1. Zanna Sullivan (Sehome) 12:23, 2. Nicole Vigjen (Kamiak) 12:24, 3. Dana Ringler (Sehome) 12:54, 4. Bailey Fjelstul (Inglemoor) 12:54, 5. Sarah Ball (Lynden Christian) 12:58. Other local top 25 finishers: 6. Aili Emory (Sehome) 13:04, 8. Jillian Anderson (Ferndale) 13:15, 9. Rebekah Oviatt (Sehome) 13:17, 11. Sophia Laws (Bellingham) 13:50, 12. Jana Peterson (Ferndale) 13:52, 16. Kara Veldman (Lynden Christian) 14:08, 17. Makayla Stahl (Bellingham) 14:10, 20. Laura Tkacsik (Ferndale) 14:27, 21. Katherine Dunford (Mount Baker) 14:27, 22. Ivy Denham-Conroy 14:37, 25. Emma Much (Bellingham) 14:43.
Sophomore boys: 1. Riley Allsop (Sehome) 10:26, 2. Nick Laccinole (Inglemoor) 10:37, 3. Cameron Wagstaff (Marysville-Getchell) 10:52, 4. Roberto Aguilera (Ferndale) 10:54, 5. Gavin Parpart (Inglemoor) 10:58. Other local top 25 finishers: 6. Sam Gillman (Bellingham) 10:59, 7. Colton Johnsen (Sehome) 11:07, 14. Josh Lingbloom (Lynden Christian) 11:29, 19. Andrew Muljat (Sehome) 11:51, 20. Rico Martinez (Meridian) 11:54, 21. Robbie Morrisset (Sehome) 12:00.
Freshman girls: 1. Sophie Cantine (Seattle Lakeside) 11:47, 2. Ruby Watson (Sehome) 11:58, 3. Ellie Rowan-Arnett (Sehome) 12:03, 4. Petra Armstrong (Burlington-Edison) 12:10, 5. Laura Rodeheffer (Oak Harbor) 12:47. Other local top 25 finishers: 7. Madeline Prentiss (Bellingham) 13:08, 9. Abby Johnson (Sehome) 13:13, 10. Amy Taylor (Sehome) 13:28. 11. Dena Andrushenko (Meridian) 13:38, 13. Tatian Langley (Sehome) 13:53, 14. Lizzie Hanks (Bellingham) 13:58, 15. Haley Rollins (Mount Baker) 14:02, 16. Maya Smith (Sehome) 14:14, 20. Katherine Chamblin (Ferndale) 14:21.
Freshman boys: 1. Cullen McEachern (Kamiak) 11:03, 2. Bryce Johnsen (Sehome) 11:04, 3. Chris Gerbino (Shorewood) 11:06, 4. Matt Karcher (Sehome) 11:17, 5. Cameron Sanders (Shorewood) 11:17. Other local top 25 finishers: 10. Logan Franey (Sehome) 11:39, 11. Jack VanderGriend (Lynden Christian) 11:42, 13. Derek Holz (Meridian) 11:44, 14. Malachi Arnold (Squalicum) 11:49, 17. Jacob Frazier (Sehome) 11:53, 19. Jackson Zerba (Bellingham) 11:54, 20. Kyler Cruz (Sehome) 11:55, 21. Jackson Schroyer (Sehome) 11:58, 24. Levi DeYoung (Bellingham) 12:07.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.