While one half of Bellingham’s sweep of MVP honors on the 2017 All-Northwest Conference Cross County team released Tuesday certainly was expected, the other half was a bit of a surprise.
The league’s coaches selected Red Raiders junior Annika Reiss the girls MVP, putting her ahead of Class 2A state individual champion Kristen Garcia of Sedro-Woolley.
That’s not to say Reiss’ 2017 resume wasn’t worth of MVP status – it certainly was. Her second-place finish to Garcia at state was the only time she was not the first girls runner to cross the finish line first this season, including at the Northwest Conference Championships and 2A Bi-District Championships, the Sunfair Invitational and at the Carl Westling South Whidbey Invitational.
Bellingham teammate Cade Brown was selected the boys MVP, after he won the 2A boys state title to cap a season, in which he also won NWC and bi-district titles and finished fourth at the Sunfair Invitational and won the crown at the Westling Invitational.
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Brown was joined on the boys first team by teammate Ty Veldhuisen, while Grace Much and Livi Lackland Henry were selected first team on the girls side.
Sehome, which swept the 2A state team titles, placed Rosie Kirker, Aspen Allsop and Emma Hageman on the girls first team and Reed Smith, Lucas Cunningham and Jacob Alexander on the boys first team.
Nooksack Valley’s Alyce Harlan, who won the first Class 1A individual title in school history, also was on the girls first team, along with Garcia, Ferndale’s Jaclyn Denham, Anacortes’ Heather Hanson and Burlington-Edison’s Anika Schlimmer. Bellingham’s Bill McClement and Sehome’s Kevin Ryan shared Coach of the Year honors on the girls side.
Lynden, Lynden Christian and Meridian each placed two runners on the boys first team: the Lions’ Tate Hutchins and Roscoe Perry; the Lyncs’ Eric Steiger and Brooks DeWaard; and the Trojans’ Kenny Barnes and Abbas Theophilus. Ryan earch Coach of the Year honors.
Whatcom County second-team selections on the boys side were: Meridian’s Nathan Schneider and Jaskaran Dhatt, Sehome’s Tadeuze Pforte and Roman Schroyer; Bellingham’s Timothy Crabtree, Drake Kirby and Drew McFall; Lynden’s Isaiah Ellis and Lynden Christian’s John Denhartog.
Second-team girls selections from Whatcom County were: Nooksack Valley’s Brooke DeBeeld; Sehome’s Emma Berreth; Meridian’s Ashley VanDenTop, Kendyl Otter and Emily Schneider; Squalicum’s Grace Oswin; and Bellingham’s Zoe Thompson and Kate Giesen.