Three South Whidbey runners placed in the top 25 at the 39th Carl Westling Invitational on Saturday at South Whidbey High School.
Falcon freshman Kaia Swegler Richmond continues to prove her worth in the high school ranks after placing fourth overall in the 5,000-meter Division 2 race with a time of 20 minutes and 13 seconds. Swegler Richmond was among veterans at the finish line, having finished behind two juniors and a senior; the next best freshman placed 25th overall. There were 85 runners in the race.
Swegler Richmond, who qualified for the National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Dec. 2016, was proud of her performance. She noted that she went out a bit fast because she was excited about the home crowd and finally having a chance to compete in the race she had watched for years as a spectator.
“I was pretty happy with where I was,” Swegler Richmond said. “My goal was top 15. I’m happy with how it all stacked up.”
Junior Callahan Yale, a returning state participant, led the boys team with a 12th place finish. He improved his time from this past year’s race by nearly 30 seconds and finished the course in 17 minutes and 52.97 seconds.
“I was really happy with it,” Yale said. “I think we put it together really well and I think we displayed our course how it was meant to be. I think our team did a really good job running, despite the fact that it was pretty hot the other day.”
“I wasn’t really shooting for anything crazy, I was just trying to see where I was in the season compared to last season,” he added.
Junior Alexandra Kurtz, a first-year runner, placed 22nd with a time of 22 minutes and 37 seconds. It’s the second consecutive week she’s placed in the top 25, following up on a 22nd place finish at the Sehome Invitational on Sept. 9.
Sophomore Michael Cepowski improved his performance from 2016 by over one minute to finish 34th overall with a time 18 minutes and 45 seconds. It’s all a new personal best for the second-year runner.
“I put in a solid summer of training, so I feel like I’ve got a good base,” Cepowski said. “My goal for this race was also to just see where I was at.”
“I’m probably above where I thought I’d be,” he added.
Over 30 teams participated in the invitational, which was split into two divisions: Division 1 and Division 2.
The Falcons girls team placed fifth overall in Division 2 with 157 points; Cedarcrest won the meet.
The boys team placed eighth with 216 points.
A 1.5-mile middle school race was held prior to the high school events.
Langley’s boys team finished fourth out of five teams, while the girls team was second out of two teams.
Cougar Seventh-grader Nikki Murnane won the girls race with a time of nine minutes and 42 seconds.
Drew Larson, an eighth-grade boy, finished third with a time of nine minutes and four seconds.