High School Sports

Meridian’s Magnusson, Sehome’s Pittis win NWC titles

Meridian senior Collin Magnusson has witnessed his local running idols take home a Northwest Conference Championships title each of the past three years in front of a Civic Stadium roaring crowd.

Trailing Anacortes’ Dylan Holland by 10 feet with roughly 150 meters to go, the Trojans standout wasn’t about to let the opportunity to add his name to the list of heralded champions escape his grasp.

Magnusson, already running at a brisk pace, dug within himself to find an extra bit of energy and blew past Holland before holding the Seahawks runner off the final 100 meters to claim the 2014 NWC Championships boys’ title during a cold and rainy 5K race Thursday, Oct. 23, in Bellingham.

“It feels pretty dang good, knowing this is a long-term goal from sophomore year,” Magnusson said. “Looking at Patrick Gibson and Tom Bradley, who’ve won it. They are people I look up to, and to follow through with a goal is really nice to do.”

Magnusson, who finished in a time of 15 minutes, 39 seconds, helped his Trojans place second overall. Sehome won both the boys’ and girls’ team titles in impressive fashion. The Mariners’ day was highlighted by senior Emily Pittis, who, like Magnusson, put together a strong kick toward the end in order to seal a win.

The Sehome boys recorded 34 points, and Colten Johnsen’s 13th-place finish was the lowest Mariners’ placing that recorded points. Meridian followed with 88 points. Anacortes took third on a tiebreaker also with 88 points, Burlington-Edison placed fourth with 109 and Bellingham’s 172 points rounded out the top five.

As impressive as the Sehome boys were, the girls’ team managed to top them. Led by top-10 finishes from Pittis (first), Abby Johnson (third), Maya Smith (fourth) and Jessa Clark (10th), the Mariners recorded 29 points, Bellingham’s Leah Veldhuisen and Quincy Gale led the Red Raiders to a second-place finish with 70 points, Sedro-Woolley placed third with 107 points, Anacortes was fourth with 118 and Lynden Christian took fifth with 134 points.

Strong final kicks from both Magnusson and Pittis helped them win, but for Magnusson he wasn’t certain he’d be able to pull in front of Holland.

“Just entering the track with 300-400 meters to go, I was skeptical on whether or not the kick was there today,” he said. “But as soon as I hit that (final) corner, everyone was going wild, and it’s just one of those adrenaline-rush things that always comes to me. It was really a great feeling.”

The late pass was, with an exception to a short lead around the 2-mile mark, Magnusson’s only race lead. The majority of the first half he trailed both Holland and Sehome’s Kirby Overman, who finished third with a time of 16:02.

The Meridian senior said his strategy was to hang back from the leader until the final loop around the track before charging hard late, and he executed it perfectly. Magnusson was embraced by teammates as they finished the race, and the boys’ winner shook hands with nearly every top-25 finisher as they filed through the finish line’s holding gate.

Interestingly enough, Pittis’ win, although she’s a two-time Class 2A state champion, was just her second time taking the conference crown.

The Mariners’ standout sandwiched second-place finishes around a win her sophomore year. Sehome in the past has went into the conference championship race holding back due to the importance of districts starting the following week, but Pittis said she was given the green light to push at the end if she wanted to.

And like any great competitor, Pittis sensed a chance to win and went for it.

“I came into the grass behind, and I just heard my coach, I think my parents, I don’t know, just people cheering, and I could see her, and I knew I would be upset if I ended without at least trying.”

Pittis, who was running side-by-side with Sedro-Woolley’s Kristen Garcia the entire race, sprinted past her opponent with roughly 200 meters left to capture a win in 18:23, beating Garcia by 3 seconds.

Outside Sehome’s four top-10s, Nooksack Valley’s Amy Jo Murphy took fifth in 19:00, Veldhuisen took sixth with a 19:20, Gale was seventh with a 19:22, and Lynden Christian’s Sarah Ball took ninth with a 19:40.

“Quincy did a really good job,” said Veldhuisen, a senior, of her freshman teammate. “She led me through the whole race, and there was a lot of working together. That was the goal going in, for us to work together.”

The Sehome boys had five top-10 finishers. Those included Overman (16:02), Riley Allsop (16:14), who took sixth, Ben Stalheim (16:20), who placed seventh, Sam Gillman (16:22), who placed eighth and Bryce Johnson (16:23), who took 10th.

Ferndale’s Roberto Aguilera was the only other county runner to finish in the top 10. He took fourth with a run of 16:03.

At Northwest Conference Championships (Civic Stadium)

5K

Team scores: Sehome 29, Bellingham 70, Sedro-Woolley 107, Anacortes 118, Lynden Christian 134, Meridian 171, Mount Baker 188, Squalicum 205, Nooksack Valley 214, Ferndale 235, Burlington-Edison 297.

Top finishers: 1. Emily Pittis (Sehome) 18:23; 2. Kristen Garcia (Sedro-Woolley) 18:26; 3. Abby Johnson (Sehome) 18:54; 4. Maya Smith (Sehome) 18:56; 5. Amy Jo Murphy (Nooksack Valley) 19:00; 6. Leah Veldhuisen (Bellingham) 19:20; 7. Quincy Gale (Bellingham) 19:22; 8. Grace Dzieciuch (Anacortes) 19:26; 9. Sarah Ball (Lynden Christian) 19:36; 10. Jessa Clark (Sehome) 19:40

School 2: 1. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 2. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 3. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 4. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 5. Runners name (School) XX:XX.

School 3: 1. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 2. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 3. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 4. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 5. Runners name (School) XX:XX.

School 4: 1. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 2. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 3. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 4. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 5. Runners name (School) XX:XX.

At Northwest Conference Championships (Civic Stadium)

5K

Team scores: Sehome 34, Meridian 88, Anacortes 88, Burlington-Edison 109, Bellingham 172, Ferndale 196, Lynden Christian 196, Squalicum 215, Nooksack Valley 257, Mount Baker 259, Blaine 266, Sedro-Woolley 280, Lynden 282.

Top finishers: 1. Collin Magnusson (Meridian) 15:39; 2. Dylan Holland (Anacortes) 15:43; 3. Kirby Overman (Sehome) 16:02; 4. Roberto Aguilera (Ferndale) 16:03; 5. Wyatt Mullen (Burlington-Edison) 16:07; 6. Riley Allsop (Sehome) 16:14; 7. Ben Stalheim (Sehome) 16:20; 8. Sam Gillman (Sehome) 16:22; 9. James Parker (Anacortes) 16:23; 10. Bryce Johnson (Sehome) 16:23.

Sehome: 3. Kirby Overman 16:02; 6. Riley Allsop 16:14; 7. Ben Stalheim 16:20; 8. Sam Gillman 16:22; 10. Bryce Johnson 16:23; 11. Patrick Lisosky 16:28; 13. Colton Johnsen 16:31.

School 1: 1. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 2. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 3. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 4. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 5. Runners name (School) XX:XX.

School 2: 1. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 2. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 3. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 4. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 5. Runners name (School) XX:XX.

School 3: 1. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 2. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 3. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 4. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 5. Runners name (School) XX:XX.

School 4: 1. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 2. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 3. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 4. Runners name (School) XX:XX; 5. Runners name (School) XX:XX.

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