One wouldn’t have to look any further than Sehome senior Kirby Overman’s Class 2A State Championships times to realize his steady climb to becoming one of Whatcom County’s best prep boys’ runners.
During Overman’s four years running for one of the state’s premier cross country programs, he achieved the rare feat of running at state every season.
Overman finished 81st his freshman year, completing the race in 17 minutes, 14.0 seconds. He shaved nearly a minute off his sophomore race, finishing 23rd with a 16:20.2, and that was followed by a sub-16 minute 15:57.80 his junior year, which was good enough for seventh place.
The Sehome standout saved his best work for his final race donning Sehome green, black and yellow, running a 15:49.82, a career best that placed him eighth in a talent-rich field.
Overman may not have won individual state championships during his tenure, but his model of consistency sure helped the boys team win back-to-back-to-back state titles.
“Kirby had a really strong year and again was leading a strong team with the bigger picture goal of winning a team title,” Sehome coach Kevin Ryan said in a phone interview. “He embraced that really well.”
The two-year captain ran the best state race of any other Whatcom County runner, placed third at the 2A District Meet with a 16:38.35 and claimed his second straight top-10 state finish. For a strong performance, Overman has been selected The Bellingham Herald’s All-Whatcom County Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year. Ryan, who led the Sehome girls and boys teams to state championships, has been chosen Coach of the Year.
While Overman aspired to improve himself as a runner this season, never did the team concept leave his mind in preparation of the state meet or during the race itself.
When asked his thoughts on his personal performance at Pasco, Overman looked right past it.
“It wasn’t about me as an individual or my performance, or my time,” Overman said in a phone interview. “The biggest thing that day was just getting the most amount of points I could for my team to do well.”
Each of the past two years Overman had the honor of being one of Sehome’s captains. His junior year he shared the leadership role with Nathan LeTavec, and this last year he was co-captain with Zane Markosian.
He was tasked this fall with guiding one of Sehome’s deepest teams in recent memory and did so impressively.
“He has a fairly low-key approach,” Ryan said of Overman. “He’s not going to be someone who stresses out other athletes. He goes out and works extremely hard and follows the race plan and has others fall in line.”
Overman set the template for future Sehome cross country leaders to emulate, and during his four years he added to the rich Mariners’ running tradition.
One aspect Overman said he prided himself on was pushing through when maybe the team and himself weren’t feeling the best. Instead of scrapping by, just barely finishing workouts, Overman displayed why following and finishing race plans and workouts were so important.
And Overman was no stranger to persevering through pains during his running career. Each season he said there were small issues that hampered him. This fall he battled hip flexor aggravation at the beginning of the season, which stemmed from the spring track and field season.
“I think hopefully just work hard,” Overman said when asked what he hopes younger runners take away from the example he left. “I know everyone every once in a while, it’s kind of easy to get into those low points where you’re not really enjoying it that often or you might be hurting, but trying to push through it and overcome that and always focus on the team first.”
Overman anticipates competing in college, but he is still sorting out next year’s plan.