Cross country gets ready to roll

Tuned up and ready to race, South Whidbey's cross country teams will be running almost on all cylinders starting next Friday.

In their last tune up before next week's North Cascades Championship meet, the Falcon boys and girls ran strong, class-specific races at the North County Invitational in Marysville Thursday. Giving sparkle to the Falcons' overall shine was freshman JD Peters, who won the freshman race on his way to clocking the third best time on his team, and Mary Bakeman in her third-place performance in the freshman race.

But just as notable as South Whidbey's better races were several key absences. Out for the day was top Falcon girl Callie Supsinskas, and boys varsity runners Holton Schmitt and Brandon Bilyeu. Bilyeu, a senior and the Falcons' fastest runner last year, has yet to run a race this season due to a foot injury.

Still, the remaining runners made a good showing for themselves. The boys placed second in a 12-team field, while the girls were fourth on the short, 3.04-mile race course. Helping boost the boys were team leader James Sundquist, who placed fourth overall in a juniors-only race, and senior Jasper Hein, whose 16:42 finish time was seven seconds faster than teammate Peters.

Pacing the girls was Julie Gabelein in a fourth-place senior-race finish, Bakeman, and Nancy Godsey and Becky Gabelein, who placed sixth and seventh in the day's sophomore race.

Still ranked as two of the top teams in the state, the Falcons head into the NCC championship with perhaps their best shot in several years at beating long-time rival Mount Baker for the title. Both the South Whidbey boys and girls have consistently finished ahead of the Moutaineers through much of the season. The meet will be held at Skagit Valley College.

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