Gone will be the days of running in the cold, frigid Bellingham air for Squalicum's Chris Fredlund.
Fredlund, who guided the Storm to a second-place finish at the 2013 Class 2A State Cross Country Championships, signed his national letter of intent to run for Division I Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
It should be a warm reception for Fredlund when he embarks for California next fall.
"The rain hasn't been my favorite thing," Fredlund said in a phone interview with a laugh.
Fredlund capped his four-year career at Squalicum by finishing third at the state meet with a personal-best time of 15 minutes, 39.26 seconds. Steady growth and development had been the theme of his time as a member of the Storm cross country team, seeing his numbers improve steadily at first, and then drastically the last two years to become a runner LMU saw as a building block for the future.
And that's exactly what the Lions' coach, Scott Guerrero, told him.
"I really liked that the coach was trying to build the program from the bottom," Fredlund said. "They lost a number of seniors this year. The coach really wanted to get three solid incoming freshmen to build the program up together from the beginning."
LMU's program is coming off a 13th-place finish at the NCAA DI West Regional Championships in mid-November, and a third-place finish at the West Coast Conference Championships in early November. The Lions will graduate seven total seniors, and they rostered five juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen this past season.
"It's exciting to have the opportunity to be considered to run at a DI school, and to be trusted enough and have someone believe in you enough to build a program the way they want it built," Fredlund said. "It's a real honor."
LMU wasn't the only school that drew the interest of Fredlund, who considered among many schools Washington State University, the University of San Diego and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Logistics, though, played a part, and the fit of the Lions' program was simply too much to overlook. And when pen hit paper for the senior, knowing his future was set was relieving to say the least.
"The recruiting process, it's been very taxing," Fredlund said. "Now it's something I don't have to worry about."
Reach Alex Bigelow at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.