The South Whidbey girls, center, begin Saturday’s state championship race.	(Photo by Karen Swegler)

The South Whidbey girls, center, begin Saturday’s state championship race. (Photo by Karen Swegler)

Falcon boys finish 11th, girls 12th at state meet / Cross country

The South Whidbey High School girls cross country team “had a great run” and the boys “struggled a bit” at the state 1A meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at Pasco’s Sun Willows Golf Course.

The Falcon girls finished 12th and the boys 11th in the team standings.

The girls “continued to improve as the season progressed and were competitive and confident running at state,” coach Doug Fulton said. “On the boys side, we had hoped to crack the top four.”

Lakeside (Nine Mile) won the girls title with 108 points; South Whidbey tallied 260.

Sophomore Kaia Swegler Richmond paced the Falcon girls by taking 19th out of 159, covering the three-mile course in 19:52.5.

Junior Flannery Friedman was 85th (22:08.3), sophomore Natalie Rodriguez 87th (22:10.2), sophomore Grace Huffman 103rd (22:31.8), sophomore Laila Gmerek 124th (23:06.6), senior Grace Complita 151st (24:52.8) and freshmen Mary Moss 158th (26:19.3).

“Laila had nice breakthrough at state, running over a minute faster than her time at the district meet,” Fulton said. “Kaia had a solid top-20 run, and our mid-pack of Flannery, Natalie and Grace Huffman ran well together.”

For the boys, junior Michael Cepowksi “had the race of the day,” according to Fulton, placing 10th out of 163 in 16:45.5, a 26-second improvement from the previous week.

“He was 42nd at the mile, 21st at the two mile and closed really well,” Fulton said.

“Our sophomore pack ran close to how they did at districts, and they gained some valuable experience, which they can bring with them next year,” Fulton added.

Sophomore Thomas Simms finished 79th (17:53.9), sophomore Reilly McVay 93rd (17:58.5), sophomore Aidan Donnelly 95th (18:00.4), sophomore Cooper Ullmann 109th (18:17.1), senior Callahan Yale 128th (18:46.1) and senior Eli Walton 153rd (19:37.2).

Charles Wright Academy’s Adam Briejer won the race in 16:15.5.

Lakeside (Nine Mile) and Cascade (Leavenworth) tied for the team title with 113 points. South Whidbey finished with 245.

Of the 14 girls and boys that represented South Whidbey, 11 are underclassmen, including eight sophomores.

“Overall, both the boys and girls programs had a great year — the boys winning the conference title and girls placing second and both making the trip to state,” Fulton said. “We are really excited about what lies ahead.”

South Whidbey’s Michael Cepowski (367) heads to a 10th-place finish. (Photo by Matt Simms)

South Whidbey’s Michael Cepowski (367) heads to a 10th-place finish. (Photo by Matt Simms)

Kaia Swegler Richmond (1377) leaves a group of runners in her wake.	(Photo by Karen Swegler)

Kaia Swegler Richmond (1377) leaves a group of runners in her wake. (Photo by Karen Swegler)

A pack of Falcon boys run in the state meet Saturday. (Photo by Karen Swegler)

A pack of Falcon boys run in the state meet Saturday. (Photo by Karen Swegler)

South Whidbey’s Flannery Friedman, left; Laila Gmerek, center; and Natalie Rodriguez, right; navigate through the mass of runners. (Photo by Karen Swegler)

South Whidbey’s Flannery Friedman, left; Laila Gmerek, center; and Natalie Rodriguez, right; navigate through the mass of runners. (Photo by Karen Swegler)

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