Sports

Honors just keep coming for South Whidbey runners

Kelly Degraaf and Becky Gabelein run together in the early going of the Nov. 12 state 2A cross country meet in Pasco. Both runners were named to the NCC all-conference second team. - Matt Johnson
Kelly Degraaf and Becky Gabelein run together in the early going of the Nov. 12 state 2A cross country meet in Pasco. Both runners were named to the NCC all-conference second team.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

After both their teams ran through one of their best cross country seasons ever, the boy and girl runners at South Whidbey High School had even more awards to add last week to a growing pile of honors.

Girls and boys both won North Cascades Conference and Northwest District titles and made their marks at state. Now the Falcons have seen their runners named to several prestigious lists.

Making first team all-conference for the boys were junior James Sundquist, freshman JD Peters and sophomore Holton Schmitt. Only seven runners in the NCC are chosen by a council of NCC coaches to receive this honor.

For the girls, first team selections were Callie Supsinskas, Mary Bakeman and Julie Gabelein. Making the NCC second team were sophomores Becky Gabelein and Kelly Degraaf.

These honors were based on athletic performance and sportsmanship during the season.

NCC coaches gave the Falcons another honor by naming the team's head coach, Doug Fulton, the Girls Coach of the Year. Lakewood's Mike Evans and Jeff Sowards shared top coaching honors on the boys side.

At the state meet, the Falcons distinguished themselves with both their performances and their longevity. In the process of taking second place in the team competition, the girls team marked its 14th consecutive appearance at the meet. In placing ninth at the Pasco meet, the boys made the top 10 for the fourth year in a row.

The girls took another state honor this season, placing third overall in the state's cross country academic standings. The team has won the state academic championship twice in the past six years.

According to Doug Fulton, 2002 was a banner year for freshman runners. For the Falcon girls, Mary Bakeman ran to eighth place overall at state after starting the season as a junior varsity runner. Her time, 20 minutes, 15 seconds, was the fifth fastest ever by a South Whidbey freshman, trailing only Megan Maynard, Leanne Hymas, Joey Shapiro and Kelly Marsh.

Bakeman's state placing qualified her for the Washington-Oregon 2002 BorderClash cross country meet on Nov. 19. She ran a time of 19:03 on the meet's 4.6-kilometer course.

For the boys, JD Peters' state time was the fifth fastest in boys cross country history at South Whidbey High School. The only freshmen to run faster were Braden Giswold, Bruce Hymas, Moses Tornga and Brett Perkins.

At the teams' Nov. 17 banquet, a number of runners received special team awards. Named most valuable by their teammates were senior runners Julie Gabelein and Brandon Bilyeu; most inspirational went to junior Callie Supsinskas and senior Scott Perkins; and the most improved runners were JD Peters and Mary Bakeman.

Bilyeu, Perkins, Jasper Hein and Julie Gabelein were named team captains.

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