Sehome senior runner Kirby Overman can vividly depict every turn, hill and flat portion of the 5K state championship run at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco by simply visualizing the race in his mind.
Each of the last two trips the Mariners’ boys’ cross country team has made to Pasco, they have left with a state title. Three years ago the team placed second. Overman has been there each time, and when the Mariners vie for a third straight state championship at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, Overman will be leading the way.
Sehome’s dynasty dating back to 2005 has produced five state titles and four runner-up finishes. Myriad talents have passed through the Mariners’ program, but without a doubt, Overman, during Sehome’s most recent string of success, has provided the team a top-caliber constant within the team’s top seven.
And Overman’s come a long way since he first decided to run in some summer JV races before his freshman year, especially at the state level.
“My freshman year I was definitely pretty nervous,” Overman said in a phone interview. “I didn’t know exactly what to expect. When we arrived in Pasco on Thursday it was very strange and different, but now it’s pretty familiar, and now it’s better. I’m ready.”
Despite how deep the Mariners have been, this year’s roster lists 79 runners, and how difficult becoming one of Sehome’s top seven state runners is, Overman’s fast times his freshman year earned him a spot on the Mariners’ state team. It was a rare feat for a freshman, and even more foreign on a talent-rich club such as Sehome.
Overman took 81st place his first state run, finishing in a time of 17 minutes, 14 seconds. He ran nearly a minute faster his sophomore year with a 16:20.2, good enough for 23rd place. Last year he placed seventh with a run of 15:57.80.
So what is Overman’s goal this year? Well, his answer speaks volumes to the type of two-year captain he is.
“Not particularly,” said Overman, when asked if there is a certain placing he’s eying this time around. “More than anything I’m just focused on the team and the team’s aspirations.”
And for the last two seasons, Overman’s main responsibility has been guiding the Sehome boys’ cross country powerhouse.
He’s ensured the team trains with conviction and everyone keeps a team-first mentality on a club where most of the second or even third set of seven runners would start on most other programs.
“I think the biggest key is making sure everyone is focused on the goal and not having distractions,” said Overman on how he leads his team at state. “Make sure everyone 1-7 is ready to go and they have their race plan and do what they need to do.”
Through the years, Overman has established himself right up there with some of the best boys runners to pass through Whatcom County, and Saturday he’ll have an outside chance to join an elite fraternity of county champions.
When asked what he credits his success to, Overman pointed to the inviting atmosphere of the team and how running with his friends never truly feels like work.
“It doesn’t feel like I have to (train) everyday,” he said. “It feels like I get to do it everyday. I get to run with my friends, and the atmosphere has really helped me put in the work I need to get where I am.”