LANGLEY — They set their best times on their home course. Usually, that means a first-place finish for cross country runners.
South Whidbey’s top cross country runners couldn’t catch their Cascade Conference competition, however. That opened the way Saturday for a King’s runner and a Cedarcrest runner to claim the girls and boys individual Cascade Conference titles.
“I was prepared for mud everywhere,” said Falcon senior Nora Felt. “It was surprisingly dry.”
The Falcon girls finished in third place behind Cedarcrest and King’s. Once again, the Falcon girls team’s strength was its seniors.
Lillianna Stelling, a senior, finished third out of 70 girls in 19:43.68. It was her fastest time on the South Whidbey High School course that winds around the school and into South Whidbey Community Park.
Freshman Mallorie Mitchem placed 11th in 21:06.05. Felt battled an illness, complete with congestion and breathing trouble, to run her fastest time on her home course. It all resulted in a 15th-place finish (21:27.27).
“My motto for all the girls was, ‘When your legs get tired, run with your heart,’” Felt said. “By the end, my body was a little tired. My lungs kind of exploded.”
Bonnie Klamm, a senior, placed 17th (21:26.88). Sophomore Emma Lungren placed 22nd (22:16.02). Senior Anna Hood finished in 22:32.44. Freshman Anna Justus rounded out the varsity racers with her personal best time of 23:41.
Cole Zink, a sophomore, paced the Falcon boys in sixth place. Though Zink improved his course time by 1 second, he was edged out of fifth place on the final 30 meters.
Junior Gavin Imes improved his course time by 42 seconds (18:14.60). Freshman Chris Anderson continued his string of 18-minute races (18:18.21).
Senior Jhamil Bader-Jarvis bested his previous top course time by 35 seconds (18:31.12).
“I’ve been having muscle pains, minor shin splints and things like that,” Bader-Jarvis said.
Anders Bergquist, a sophomore, finished in 19:04.42. Fellow sophomores Andy Zisette (19:23.85) and Truman Hood (19:38.07) rounded out the varsity racers.