Neither the mud nor the rest of the Class 2A District 1 Meet field could prevent the Sehome boys’ cross country team from running away with a championship Saturday, Nov. 1, at South Whidbey.
Forget relying on finishing as a top-four team to bring the whole squad to state, all seven Mariners runners would have qualified on individual merit.
Four Mariners finished inside the top 10, and all seven ran well enough to break the 20-runner automatic state-qualifying threshold, as Sehome handily won the meet with 38 points.
And Sehome did it with two of its top runners watching the action.
“We sat back, ran a very conservative race,” Mariners coach Kevin Ryan said in a phone interview. “The boys ran really well. ... Kirby (Overman) was third, and Ben Stalheim and Sam Gillman ran really well, too.”
Overman was Sehome’s top finisher, crossing the line in 16 minutes, 38.53 seconds. Gillman was fifth (16:57.72), Stalheim took seventh (17:02.81), Colton Johnsen placed ninth (17:10.78), Patrick Lisosky finished 13th (17:17.98), Tyler Caseria was 17th (17:32.40) and Matt Karcher was 18th (17:34.64).
Ryan chose to rest both Riley Allsop and Bryce Johnson, as they prepare for next week’s state race.
“That is the depth of our team,” Ryan said, when asked what placing seven runners within the top 18 speaks to. “They have all pushed each other all year. It doesn’t matter which seven run, as long as the team runs well.”
The Red Raiders also put together a strong race. Bellingham, which coach Bill McClement admitted is going through a rebuilding year, finished just six points away from claiming a team state berth.
Bellingham finished fifth overall with 130 points, barely trailing fourth-place Cedarcrest.
Nonetheless, to nearly reach state was a phenomenal feat, McClement said.
“I don’t think anybody in the league or district expected that we would end up six points away from qualifying for state,” said the Bellingham coach in a phone interview.
The Red Raiders will be represented at state, though. Freshman Cade Brown took eighth place, finishing the run in 17:07.35.
Both Squalicum’s Chais Sugden and Blaine’s Parker Morris also qualified. Sugden took 14th with a time of 17:22.22, and Morris’ 17:22.46 was good for 15th place.
CLASS 2A NORTHWEST DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIPS
At South Whidbey