South Whidbey senior Sophia Morgan had a simple goal heading into the Class 1A cross country state championships on Nov. 5 in Pasco — break 20 minutes on the 5,000-meter course.
Though she did not accomplish that mission, running the course at Sun Willows Golf Course in 20 minutes and 43 seconds and finished 39th overall, she isn’t giving up.
“I’m still working on that,” Morgan said. “I’m going to just keep doing 5Ks until I do it. If I don’t do it in a school race, I’m just going to keep doing it.”
Morgan finished the highest among the three Falcons who competed at state. Sophomore Callahan Yale finished 44th overall after finishing in 17 minutes and 18 seconds.
Freshman Flannery Friedman finished 85th overall with a time of 21 minutes and 33 seconds.
All three said they were proud of making it to the state meet. Morgan felt she could have done better. Morgan said it wasn’t the competition or pressure of being at state that threw her off.
“I think it was just a bad day for me,” said Morgan, who finished ninth overall at the district meet on Oct. 29. “Sometimes you have bad races and you can’t predict when they’re going to be.”
Yale said there was some pressure associated with being the only boys runner. Though some of his teammates made the trip to support him, the weight on his shoulders mounted when he headed for the starting line alone.
He said his first mile was quicker than he would have liked due to excitement and the speed of the other competitors.
“There were ridiculously fast kids there,” Yale said.
Yale added that he could have placed somewhere in the top 20 or 30 based on his personal best, but was pleased overall with qualifying for state in his first year running cross country. Yale was talked into competing in cross country by friends after some success in track and field.
Head coach Doug Fulton said Yale was one of the biggest surprises of the season. Yale was unable to train with the rest of the Falcons during summer training because he was in Montana with family. But, once it hit the midpoint of the season, Yale separated himself from the rest of the pack.
“It was a great year for him,” Fulton said. “It was really amazing what he was able to do with such little training.”
Like Yale, Friedman said she will use the experience to her benefit next season. Her main goal was qualifying for state.
“Now I know what to expect and what I’m looking forward to and how to get there the rest of high school,” Friedman said.