Michael Harwell (1401) runs with the lead pack.(Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

Michael Harwell (1401) runs with the lead pack. (Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

High school boys, middle school girls claim team titles / Cross country

The South Whidbey High School boys and the middle school girls fought off a rash of island invaders Saturday, Sept. 21, to protect their home turf at the 41st annual Carl Westling Cross Country Invitational.

Forty high schools, six middle schools and more than 1,000 athletes took part in this year’s event. The invitational included two high school divisions — one for larger schools and one for 2A and smaller — two junior varsity boys races, a junior varsity girls race and middle school races for both genders.

The South Whidbey boys team came into the meet ranked sixth in the state coaches’ 1A poll and knocked off No. 1 Cascade of Leavenworth to captured the small school (Division 2) title. Among the division’s 21 teams were nine 2A schools.

The Falcons moved up to third in this week’s poll behind Lakeside-Nine Mile Falls and Medical Lake.

South Whidbey won the meet with 94 points; Cascade was second with 110.

The South Whidbey girls placed fourth in Division 2 and second among 1A teams. The strong performance landed the Falcons in the state poll’s top 10 for the first time this season.

Bellingham, the state’s fourth-ranked 2A girls team won Division 2 with 48 points, followed by King’s (64), ranked second in the 1A poll; Cedarcrest (85), fifth in the 2A poll; and South Whidbey (141).

South Whidbey won the middle school girls title with 38 points, two better than King’s.

South Whidbey’s top individual performances — two second-place finishes to a pair of Smiths from King’s — came from junior Kaia Swegler Richmond in the Division 2 girls race and eighth-grader Naomi Atwood in the middle school girls race.

Swegler Richmond traveled the 5,000-meter high school course in 19:39.65. King’s Naomi Smith, the defending state champion, won in 17:50.15.

Atwood covered the 1.7-mile middle school course in 11:54.31. Addison Smith from King’s took first in 11:17.59.

The South Whidbey High School teams head to Oregon for their next meet, taking part in the Nike Portland Cross Country Invitational Saturday, Sept. 28, at Blue Lake Park in Fairview.

South Whidbey results at the Westling Invitational

Middle school girls (1.7 miles, 40 runners) — South Whidbey first, 38 points: 2, Naomi Atwood, 11:54.31; 4, Audrey Gmerek, 12:06.04; 9, Abigail Marin, 12:40.59; 14, Sofia Geurkink, 13:77.66; 18, Sierra Muller, 13:35.39; 35, Cassandra Terrell, 16:07.23; 37, Hailey Nikula, 16:21.88.

Middle school boys (1.7 miles, 67 runners) — South Whidbey fourth, 77 points; Lakewood first, 50: 10, Ian O’Brien, 10:59.26; 17, Emmett Racicot, 11:12.73; 22, Lucas Wallhoff, 11:22.73; 23, Caden Hobbs, 11:27.31; 25, Chris Lindstrom, 11:51.45; 26, Noah Brady, 11:52.51; 28, Atticus Prisberry, 11:53.05; 31, Emile Rovinovich, 11:59.34; 33, Evan Welever, 12:11.88; 34, River Kline, 12:12.46; 37, Malachi Pierson, 12:14.31; 38, Connor Campbell, 12:16.12; 44, Elias Sullivan, 13:00.83; 45, Sean Walker, 13:03.53; 50, Trainer Prael, 13:51.05; 55, Corbyn Orchard, 14:17.04; 57, Jamie Dale, 14:37.5; 61, Gabriel Gandarias, 15:02.5; 62, Rocco Plastino, 15:12.21; 65, Konrad Nyberg, 17:37.55; 66, Cash Jacobs, 18:25.08.

Junior varsity boys, over 22 minutes (5,000 meters, 270 runners) — South Whidbey 19th, 520 points; Roosevelt first, 57: 32, James Kleparek, 21:28.91; 59, Liam Dolde, 22:09.89; 149, Liam Bjork, 24:27.4; 241, Maalik Heino, 28:44.18; 246, Xander Geurkink, 29:03.2.

Junior varsity boys, under 22 minutes (5,000 meters, 260 runners) — South Whidbey 14th, 425 points; Jackson first, 48: 32, Trent Hogarth, 19:03.12; 51, Drew Larson, 19:28.45; 73, Nicholas Muller, 19:51.64; 178, Tyler King, 21:17.74; 242, Rowan Dickerson, 23:04.73.

Varsity girls, Division 2 (5,000 meters, 90 runners) — South Whidbey fourth, 141 points; Bellingham first, 48: 2, Kaia Swegler Richmond, 19:39.65; 22, Grace Huffman, 22:21.05; 28, Jasmin Graner, 22:30.42; 46, Flannery Friedman, 23:39.46; 57, Laila Gmerek, 24:23.85; 58, Natalie Rodriguez, 24:30.75.

Varsity boys, Division 2 (5,000 meters, 147 runners) — South Whidbey first, 94 points: 6, Michael Harwell, 16:52.93; 17, Thomas Simms, 17:47.76; 19, Reilly McVay, 17:48.48; 20, Cooper Ullmann, 17:48.89; 33, Aidan Donnelly, 18:10.38; 34, Aidan O’Brien, 18:15.21; 99, Preston Leon, 19:48.7.

Kaia Swegler Richmond (1393) heads out with the leaders at the beginning of the girls varsity race.(Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

Kaia Swegler Richmond (1393) heads out with the leaders at the beginning of the girls varsity race. (Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

Thomas Simms, left, Reilly McVay and Cooper Ullman head down the home stretch together. (Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

Thomas Simms, left, Reilly McVay and Cooper Ullman head down the home stretch together. (Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

Natalie Rodriguez, left, Flannery Friedman and Laila Gmerek begin the second loop of the course.(Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

Natalie Rodriguez, left, Flannery Friedman and Laila Gmerek begin the second loop of the course. (Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

Falcons Grace Huffman (1391) and Jasmin Graner, right, complete the first lap of the course.(Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

Falcons Grace Huffman (1391) and Jasmin Graner, right, complete the first lap of the course. (Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

The South Whidbey High School boys cross country team receives its first-place award Saturday. From the left are Aidan O’Brien, Aidan Donnelly, Cooper Ullmann, Michael Harwell, Preston Leon, Thomas Simms and Reilly McVay. (Photo by Matt Simms)

The South Whidbey High School boys cross country team receives its first-place award Saturday. From the left are Aidan O’Brien, Aidan Donnelly, Cooper Ullmann, Michael Harwell, Preston Leon, Thomas Simms and Reilly McVay. (Photo by Matt Simms)