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Falcon cross country opens postseason with Leski, Zink taking top-10 places
Normally, running on their home course helps South Whidbey’s cross country teams reach their fastest times.
For many of the Falcon boys at the Cascade Conference Championship on Saturday, that proved true.
“We work on running as a group and helping each other push forward,” said Falcon boys senior Gavin Imes. “We saw some amazing PRs today.”
It was more of a struggle for the South Whidbey girls, who started out a little fast on the first mile and found themselves gassed before they were done.
South Whidbey’s top female runner, freshman Anna Leski, set a personal-best time for the 5,000-meter race at 20:26.9. Leski placed sixth, narrowly edged by Archbishop Murphy’s Lindsey Dorney at the finish line for fifth place. She passed her previous fastest time by five seconds and has finished under the 21-minute mark in her previous three races.
The Falcon girls raced without their usual third runner, senior Jaime Rodden, who was nursing a leg injury and sat out the race. Senior Terra Wildon, normally the fourth finisher for the Falcons, dropped out of the race after the first mile.
Mallorie Mitchem, a Falcon sophomore, finished in 14th place, nearly 23 seconds slower than her fastest course time at South Whidbey High School.
South Whidbey’s other three racers finished with times similar to previous finishes at their home course. Emma Lungren, a junior, came in at 22:18.8. Freshman Bethany Justus was 42 seconds off her previous best time in 23:31.3. Kinsey Eager, also a freshman, was also slower then her previous time and finished in 24:04.5.
The Falcon boys found their form, however, and placed third overall.
A couple of high places by junior Cole Zink and a personal-best time by Imes certainly helped, as did the grouping of three racers in the mid-30s range.
Zink placed eighth overall and ran his best time on the Falcons’ course in 17:06.1.
“The season’s been really slow, just building up,” he said. “To come out and run that kind of time, it feels great.”
Imes, the team’s captain, smashed his personal record by 14 seconds and finished in 17:39.3. His 14th-place finish was career best at the Cascade Conference Championship meet.
“I’m really believing in myself a lot more,” he said. “The night before the race, I go through it in my head and imagine the time I want to get.”
A grouping of Falcon runners — Chris Anderson, Will Simms and Anders Bergquist — rounded out the varsity team score. Anderson, a sophomore, crossed in 18:28.8, his best course time. Simms, a freshman, set a personal record of 18:33.9. Bergquist, a junior, also set a personal best time in 18:37.6.
South Whidbey’s other varsity girls: Anna Justus, 23:21.3; Bailey Forsyth, 24:39.2 (personal record).
South Whidbey’s other varsity boys: Cory Ackerman, 18:43.7 (personal record); Evan Mellish, 18:57.3 (personal record); Justin Gonzales, 19:09.4; Truman Hood, 19:22.1; Anthony Kovic, 19:44.4 (personal record); Kyrell Broyles, 20:52.1; Zach Ramsey, 20:53.8; Caleb Bartel, 22:23.2; Garrett Poteat, 22:49.9.