Falcons cross country team upsets number-one Sehome

The Falcons varsity cross country team pauses after its winning run Saturday. Team members are Jean Koelblinger, Cassie Bosman, Caroline Habel, Emily Martin, Erica Johnson, Chantal White and Courtney Bosman. - Photo courtesy of Mike Johnson
The Falcons varsity cross country team pauses after its winning run Saturday. Team members are Jean Koelblinger, Cassie Bosman, Caroline Habel, Emily Martin, Erica Johnson, Chantal White and Courtney Bosman.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Mike Johnson

The Falcons girls varsity cross country team worked hard and ran hard all summer long with one thing in mind: Beating Sehome High School.

The Sehome team won the state title last year and was favored to win Saturday’s “Hole in the Wall Invitational” cross country meet at Lakewood.

But the Falcons’ hard work reaped great dividends as they ran away with the win on the 3.1-mile course.

While Sehome’s Annie Moore took first place and Mimi Krieger took fourth, they could not overcome the Falcon’s tightly-knit finish.

South Whidbey’s Erica Johnson enjoyed her personal best time of 19:58. Caroline Habel crossed the finish line four seconds later at 20:02, followed by Courtney Bosman (20:20), Chantal White (20:24) and Cassie Bosman (20:26). Emily Martin rounded the team out by crossing the line at 21:29.

Falcons coach Doug Fulton was pleased with the results.

“We had a real good day. Our one through five finished 13th through 23rd with a 28-second gap between one and five, which is pretty tight,” he said.

Fulton said the group of Whidbey runners slipped past Sehome to win the team title Saturday.

“We got our top five in before their number three and just edged them out,” he said.

With the win, the Falcons moved up into second place in the state rankings, just behind Sehome in the top spot.

For team captain Erica Johnson, the win gave the team a little breathing room and a load of confidence.

She said the team trained hard for the win against Sehome.

“We’ve been trying to do that for a long time,” Johnson said. “We trained all summer long, just working really hard to better ourselves so we could do that.

“It’s really exciting (to finish a race in a tight group) because our team scores do a lot better and we feel a lot better; more teamly,” she said.

Johnson also attributes the win and a winning team attitude to simply getting along.

“Love keeps us going and working together as a team. There is a chemistry between all of us and it’s really high energy,” Johnson said. “We enjoy each other’s company.”

The girls weren’t the only team to have a good day, Fulton said.

“The boys had probably their best meet of the season. Overall, there was tough competition,” Fulton said.

“The Sehome boys are ranked number one and Lakewood boys are number three. We were 13th out of 27 teams; the fourth-placed 2A school.”

Fulton added that Scott Stallman was the boys team’s top runner. Blake Koszarek was number two for South Whidbey in a remarkable finish.

“Blake got tripped after about 150 meters into the race. He got left in the dust of 186 runners. He got up and ended up running quite well, passed 120 or so runners and finished second for us, just a few seconds behind, at 18:02,” Fulton said. “It was a really awesome run.”

On the freshman and sophomore team, Ben Saari finished at 19:19, Kip Hacking finished at 21:33 and Erik Sundquist crossed the line at 26:25.

For the boys junior varsity team, Nathan Kamps came in at 18:47, Brett Warwick crossed the line at 19:24, James Schoor finished in 20:12, and Jeff Brasko ran the race in 20:59.

Michela Mattens of the girls junior varsity team crossed the line in 23:47. Ten seconds later, Gwen Bakke finished at 23:57, followed by Jennifer Gemkow at 23:58 and McKenzie Walker at 24:02.

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 or

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