Runners wrap up season in Pasco

Sophomore Erica Johnson finds herself back in the pack during Saturday
Sophomore Erica Johnson finds herself back in the pack during Saturday's cross country state finals in Pasco. She finished 84th but
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

Falcon senior Mary Bakeman finished her remarkable high school cross country career Saturday by running the 3.1-mile state finals course at the Sun Willows golf course in Pasco in 19 minutes, 43 seconds.

Teammate Katy Gordon was five seconds behind at 19:48.

Bakeman and Gordon placed 14 and 15 respectively out of 145 competitors from 3A schools statewide.

"I was ahead of Mary until the 2-mile mark," recalled Gordon.

"We both tried to surge away from each other and I passed her on an uphill slope but she caught me after we crested the hill," she said. "It was a great race and she totally deserved it."

Sophomore Erica Johnson came in 84th with 21:08 and the sole Falcon male runner, senior JD Peters, crossed the line in 17 minutes flat to take the 32nd spot against 149 competitors.

This was the fourth straight visit to state for Bakeman and Peters.

"We just had a lot of fun," Bakeman said. "Especially as Katy and I were running together much of the race."

"The course has gradual, rolling hills and the weather was in the low 50s," she added. "I was afraid the wind would be a problem, but it wasn't and the rain held off until we were done."

Coach Doug Fulton noted a girl from Sequim fell and a false start was declared after about 200 meters. "They called everyone back but it actually provided a better start for our girls," he said.

Bakeman agreed.

"Usually I start back in the pack and get up to speed towards the end," she said. "I started a little too fast and the false start slowed me, which is a good thing."

Fulton believes both boys and girls had a fantastic season.

The athletes worked very hard all year. The girl's team was chosen Cascade Conference champions and state academic champs with an average overall grade point average of 3.79.

These Falcons love to fly, too. All four athletes will be in running events on the South Whidbey track and field team next spring. And Gordon is training for a half-marathon.

"I'll be sad next year not running with my friends," Bakeman said. "We have a terrific bunch and they'll do very well."

Send sports tips and news to Jeff VanDerford at 221-5300 or e-mail

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