Less than a week til track is back and it is time to preview the runners and who to watch for this season. I had the privilege of running against these guys the last couple of years and they're not only good runners, but even better people.
You already know them:
Tate Hutchins, Lynden
Tate Hutchins competing at the 2017 NWC Championships. Photo taken by Nick Elges.
After an outstanding cross season finishing fifth at the 2A state meet, Tate Hutchins looks to carry over momentum onto the track this spring and make a case for the 800 and 1600. Last track season, Hutchins qualified for the state track meet in the 800 and finished 6th place with a time of 1:56.98, a personal best. Hutchins was also a leg on the 4x4 relay team that finished 4th at state. His best race, along with his 800 at state, include a 5th place in the 1600 at the 2A Bi-district meet in a time of 4:26.68. If anybody can complete the double to get to state, it is this kid.
Reed Smith, Sehome
Reed Smith (1459) competes in a cross meet last fall. Photo taken by Sehome Cross Country.
After a sophomore track season that didn't quite go to plan, Reed Smith made some big improvements this last fall finishing 3rd at the 2A state cross meet in 15:52. As Sehome's number 1 runner last fall, Smith looks to cruise this track season in hopes of medaling at the state track meet in the 800 or the 1600. His best marks his sophomore year were times of 2:05 and 4:32, both PR's for him. Don't be surprised if Smith runs a sub 2 minute in the 800 and anywhere between 4:25-4:30 in the 1600.
Kenny Barnes, Meridian
Kenny Barnes (324) leads Lynden Christian's Eric Steiger (313) at the State meet in Pasco last fall. Photo taken by Karen Mullen.
An impressive 6th place finish at the 1A state cross meet last fall brought some attention to Meridian's Kenny Barnes. With a personal best time of 16:02, Barnes is more than capable of competing for 1A state title in 3200 in his final season. As a junior in track, Barnes best marks in the 1600 and 3200 were 4:40 and 10:03, a big improvement from his sophomore campaign. Along with a strong supporting cast to train with, Barnes is in good hands to make his senior season his best yet.
Eric Steiger, Lynden Christian
800, 1600, 3200
Eric Steiger finishes at the NWC Championship in 2016. Photo taken by Ashley Hiruko.
For senior Eric Steiger, last fall was just a preview of what is yet to come this spring. With 5 victories and a 3rd place finish at the 1A state cross meet, Steiger is Whatcom County's ideal runner to have a chance at not only claiming one, but two state titles in the 1600 and 3200 this spring. Steiger's junior track season showed he is capable of dominating at the 1A level, as well as compete with the top runners at the 2A and 3A levels. His best marks were 2:06, 4:30, and 9:44. He also qualified for state in both the 1600 and 3200 and medaled in each as well. Last year was his first track season since he competed in 8th grade. Look out for this private school stud.
Brooks DeWaard, Lynden Christian
Brooks DeWaard competes at the state cross meet in Pasco last fall. Photo taken by Margaret Hamstra.
Eric Steiger's training partner Brooks DeWaard is another LC runner who is in the talks of competing for a state championship in the 1600 and 3200. In his final cross season, DeWaard finished 14th at the 1A state meet in a time of 16:16, 10 seconds off his personal best mark. His junior track season was filled with ups and downs, but mostly ups as he ran personal best times of 4:31 and 9:51 and qualified for state in the 3200 for a 2nd year in a row and the 1600 (1st time). The blue and white jerseys will be noticeable all season long, we just don't know who will be in the lead in Steiger or DeWaard.
You may not know them, but you will this year:
Ty Veldhuisen, Bellingham: 1600, 3200
-Was on the 3rd place Bellingham Boy's Cross team. Ran personal best times of 4:34 and 10:01 last spring.
Nick Kildall, Lynden: 800
- Finished in 8th place at the 2A Bi-District meet in 2:00.58. His personal best time was 1:59.89, which was ran two days earlier. Competed at state on Lynden's 4x4 team last spring.
Landon Sturdevant, Ferdale: 800, 1600
- As an 8th grader at Vista last spring, Sturdevant ran 2:08 and 4:46. This winter, he competed at the UW High School Invite a ran a personal best in the 800 with a time of 2:02.71.
Lucas Cunningham, Sehome: 800, 1600
-Finished in 4th place at the 2A Bi-district meet in the 800 with a personal best mark of 1:57.66. He also ran a personal best mile in a time of 4:44.7 at a local meet. Finished in 4th at the NWC Cross Championships last fall.
Abbas Theophilus, Meridian: 1600, 3200
-Finished 10th at the 1A state cross meet last fall. As a sophomore, he best marks in track were 4:43 and 10:18.