Feeling California, runners are fast

The Falcons had their travelling shoes on last week. Good thing they come with spikes.

Redefining what it means to be "on the road," the South Whidbey boys and girls cross country teams took a flight to Stanford University in Berkeley, Calif. over the weekend, where they snatched up hardware in one of the largest cross country meets held on the West Coast.

Quickly shaking off the effects of a their airplane ride, the two teams ran their best times of the year in Saturday's race. Running after several college and big high school races earlier in the day, seven Falcon boys set the tone for the meet by running personal records to the man and taking fifth as a team behind their junior leader, James Sundquist.

Not to be outdone, the girls, headed by junior Callie Supsinskas, took third in a nine-team, multi-state high school race.

Running with the leaders in a 169-athlete field, Sundquist finished 14th overall as he cut 30 seconds off the personal, 5-kilometer best he set a week earlier at the South Whidbey Invitational. Behind him, five Falcons -- Holden Schmitt, Jeff Strong, Conley White, Jasper Hein, and JD Peters -- all crossed the line within 33 seconds of one another. Freshman Chris dePender rounded out the varsity with a personal-best 18:30 run.

For the girls, Supsinskas fought her way into the elite by placing 10th overall in a blazing time of 20:01. Following her, breakout freshman Mary Bakeman was 17th in 20:47, while senior Julie Gabelein -- who twisted both ankles while on a training run Friday -- was 32nd in 21:31. Also scoring for the Falcons were Nancy Godsey and Becky Gabelein.

Though clearly thrilled with the gains his runners made at the Stanford meet, Falcon coach Doug Fulton was understated in his praise.

"They ran well," he said after the team's return to Whidbey Island.

Earlier in the week, the boys and girls tuned up for Stanford at a small meet in Arlington that mixed conference and non-conference teams. On River Meadows Park Golf Course, the boys soundly beat their top rival, Mount Baker, though they are still without injured team leader Brandon Bilyeu. Sundquist lead the boys team on the 3-mile course with a first-place, 16:38 finish.

For the girls, Julie Gabelein was the top performer, taking the place of an injured Callie Supsinskas. She placed fourth overall behind Baker's Andrea Brown.

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