Runners go for it early

Leading out the pack at Thursday
Leading out the pack at Thursday's jamboree meet in Lakewood, James Sunquist and JD Peters set themselves up for top-10 placings in the unofficial season opener. Sundquist, a senior, went on to win the 1.83-mile race.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

At first, it looked like the day would be marked by nothing but the colors red and maroon.

Seeing their top North Cascade Conference rivals for the first time since the state meet last November, about 20 runners from South Whidbey High School looked like white and blue buoys bobbing in a sea of of color more to the magenta side of things than they would have liked. But as the miles wore on in a short-course NCC jamboree meet Thursday afternoon in Lakewood, those little buoys turned out to be motorboats.

On a 1.89-mile course at Lakewood High School, the Falcon boys and girls cross country teams both took psychological victories at the unscored preseason meet, placing at least three runners per team in the top 10 and proving to the red runners of Mount Baker and the maroon marauders from Lakewood that South Whidbey runners can still fly.

It was senior James Sundquist who put the exclamation point on the day in the boys race. Running to the front of a pack numbering more than 100 boys, the team's leader of the past two seasons brought a summer's worth of training to bear on Granite Falls' Neal Hollo and Meridian runner Yancy Lawrence in the final 300 meters of the race. After battling with the two runners for more than a mile, Sundquist unleashed a sprint that gave him the race victory.

"I've been working harder than ever during the summer," he said to explain the 9-minute, 23-second victory.

Behind him, Falcon sophomore JD Peters claimed fifth and junior Holton Schmitt sixth to make the top 10 a South Whidbey affair. Senior Jeff Strong was 13th, just outleaning surprising 10:15 freshman performer Jason Fitz, who took 14th place.

In the girls race, senior Callie Supsinskas was the first Falcon finisher in fourth behind Mount Baker's Andrea Brown. Her time was 11:35. Sophomore Mary Bakeman was sixth four seconds behind, and junior Nancy Godsey was seventh. Rounding out the top five were freshman Katy Gordon in eighth and cross country novice and sophomore Britta Madison in 21st.

Though 22 seconds separated her team's top three from Gordon and Madison, Supsinskas said the race result was encouraging.

"I thought everyone did amazing," she said.

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