A rookie high school runner for Squalicum who is nonetheless no stranger to pounding the trails, along with an up-and-comer who took her first career title for Nooksack Valley, provided intriguing local efforts in the 42nd annual Mount Baker Invite on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Silver Lake State Park.
Home-schooled Jonah Salomon – a junior with a club background who is gratified that he recently joined Squalicum’s squad – finished fourth to lead the deep Storm to the boys title. His time of 17 minutes, 11.61 seconds was 26 seconds behind winner Isaac Cortes of Granite Falls.
Nooksack Valley junior Alyce Harlan followed coach Jay Sloane’s race plan “to perfection” on the hilly, 2.97-mile challenge, her mentor said, to lead four Pioneers in the top 11 in one of Nooksack’s best showings in a long time. Harlan’s winning time was 20:10.8.
Runner-up Grace Oswin, also a junior, showed how she qualified for 2A state as a freshman and sophomore while gutting out a 20:44.36 finish, even though it wasn’t her best day, while leading the Storm to the girls championship.
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Praise and pleasure
“Alyce is a great runner,” Oswin said of Harlan, who figures to have a shot at a strong Class 1A state finish. Oswin hopes to meet the challenge of qualifying for 3A state now that the Storm has moved up.
Harlan took Sloane’s advice.
“My coach said I should go for the win,” Harlan said. “I kept it relaxed.”
Salomon said he’s happy with his finish.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect (in high school running) but I feel good,” he said. “I would recommend cross country to anyone who hasn’t tried a high school team. Everyone has been so welcoming here.”
Squalicum’s boys title team also included Curt Peila (16th overall in the 56-runner field), Sam Clark (17th), Tyler Warren (23rd) and Jacob Gervais (26th) to score 73 points, four ahead of runner-up Omak in the seven-team field. The other local full teams were Nooksack Valley (fifth), Mount Baker (sixth) and Ferndale (seventh). Runners not on full teams scored only individually.
The champion Storm girls team also produced scorers Livi Lackland (fifth overall among 37 runners), Abby Koenig (sixth), Cynthia Carr (17th) and Marley Westman (23rd) for 52 points, five ahead of runner-up Nooksack’s 62 in the five-team field. Mount Baker, the only other local full team, finished fifth.
Top 10 locals
Other high local finishers were Mount Baker’s Zak Kelly (sixth), Nooksack’s Caleb Karber (seventh) and Blaine’s Masahide Shibuya (eighth).
For the girls, other local high finishers were Nooksack’s Brooke DeBeeld (fourth), Mount Baker’s Kaitlyn Stapp (seventh) and Nooksack’s Jazmine Gutierrez (10th).