Killer B's buzz off

"Any running South Whidbey's Killer B's do together in the future will be on their own. The trio will graduate from South Whidbey High School Saturday. From the left are Brett Perkins, Bruce Hymas and Braden Giswold.Matt Johnson, staff photoThe biggest frustration when running against Braden Giswold, Brett Perkins, and Bruce Hymas is not the fact that they almost always win. What's worse is the fact that there is no way to hate these guys.Fear, yes. Hate, no.For four years, the three boys from South Whidbey High School whose names all start with the letter B have been been quietly winning races on cross country courses and tracks all over Washington state. They have been a terror for every coach from another school who believed he had a good distance-running program. They have also been an example for those same coaches, who long to have athletes as capable as South Whidbey's three Killer B's.Their high school cross country coach, Tim Gordon, is one of the few people who was ever close enough to other coaches to know how much of an impact the B's had. At an invitational meet in Hoquiam in 1999, for example, he could almost see several coaches' hearts sink.You'd hear 'Oh my God, here are those guys,' Gordon said.The three boys - who graduate from South Whidbey High School Saturday - are a team within a team. As freshmen, they ran at the state cross country meet after qualifying as individuals at the district meet. As seniors, they collected the rewards of their early promise. Giswold placed second in last fall's state cross country meet and won state championships in the 800 and 1,600 meter runs on the track this spring. Hymas was fourth in the state cross country race and third in the state 3,200. Perkins was close behind as the ultimate team man, placing in the top 10 last fall to give the Falcons a second-place state team finish in Pasco. He also ran the anchor leg of the Falcon 4x400 relay two weeks ago to put his team in the record books as both state champions and state record holders. And together, the trio own three of the top-five cross country times ever run for South Whidbey or Langley high schools.The other schools will be glad they're not here anymore, said Doug Fulton, head coach for South Whidbey's track team.But beyond the running - which is what they are best known for on South Whidbey - Giswold, Hymas, and Perkins have been inseparable friends since seventh grade. That was the year they noticed how fast they were while running laps during gym class.That's where it all started, laps around the soccer field, Perkins said.LMS running coach Jack Terhar noticed, too. When he got the three boys on his track team, he knew they would become part of South Whidbey running lore. To this day, middle school runners still ask Terhar how fast the Killer B's ran particular workouts and races during their middle school days.Oh, we knew we had something special, Terhar said. They set a standard.For the B's themselves, the best memories of their high school years are not all about running. Sure, standing atop the winners podium in Pasco last fall was great, but can it compare to wakeboarding on Lake Chelan? Or how can the sleeping in a hotel room the night before a big race beat picking up a birthday pack of videos, pop, and snacks at the store after rollerblading and playing basketball until they were too tired to stand up?Okay, the running memories are more exciting. But the other stuff was fun, too.We're never inside, except at night, Perkins said of the days, nights, and weeks, the three boys have spent together. The boys' parents all say that the Bs are a package deal - during the summer or sports seasons, where one spends the night, they all spend the night. Each set of parents must always be prepared to serve breakfast to three boys on almost any morning. Managing this fast pack of runners most of the time was Perkins' mother, Denise. Whether she was delivering pumpkin pie and whipped cream for the traditional pre-race dessert or carting the boys to the store in the days before they had their driver's licenses, she was at the top of the Killer B fan list.Denise is pretty much our running mom, Giswold said.Even a running mom couldn't keep control of the B's all the time. There was the occasional argument, the boys admit, but it was almost always over food.Brett always has it and I always want it, Giswold said.Then, turning to Hymas, he said with a laugh:And you always take it. When Giswold, Hymas and Perkins start college next fall, they will be living in relative isolation from one another, something that only happened during the winter on South Whidbey. During that season, Perkins was busy playing basketball, Hymas wrestled, and Giswold ran alone.All three will go to school in California: Perkins at California Polytechnic, Giswold at Claremont-McKenna College, and Hymas at United States International University. The schools are all within two hours of one another and compete against one another in cross country and track. In the future, the Killer B's will be adversaries, if only on paper. One of the things they will miss when competing on separate teams will be the Killer B label itself, which started showing up in newspaper stories in 1997.I like the name, Perkins said. Still, Hymas said he has a plan that will make the three a team at least one more time.We want to go on the Price is Right together, he said.Well boys, come on down. "

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