Ferndale, WA- I guess it was cool to see Jake Locker at Ferndale's football practice, but that wasn't the reason why I made a trip up north. The 8th stop takes us to Ferndale High School for our cross country preview.
Head Coach: Nick Carlson (14th Year)
Total Runners: 33
Key Returners: Eric Maldanado (Jr.), Landon Sturdevant (So.), Isaac Bobadilla (So.), Fischer Drury (So.)
We Don't Know Them, But We Will: Nolan Ramirez (So.), Josiah Bushnell (So.), Owen Cool (Fr.)
For the last couple of years, when anybody would talk about Ferndale boys cross country, one person that comes to mind is Roberto Aguilera, the last Golden Eagle to make it to the state cross meet. But with only one senior leaving the program after last year, this year's Ferndale squad is loaded with a ton of youth.
The Golden Eagles will be arguably the youngest team in the Northwest Conference this season with 5 underclassmen expected to lead the varsity team this year. Of those 5, 4 are sophomores. Head coach Nick Carlson mentioned that he was fortunate enough to coach some great runners and could usually get 1 to 3 runners to state. However, he seems pretty confident in this young bunch and believes they can go a long way.
"They all have a lot of natural talent," said Carlson. "I have never had a team with a chance to make it to state. I've had really good individuals, but this is the first time we've had runners with this potential level that could get them pretty far into the season."
Junior Eric Maldanado and Sophomore Landon Sturdevant highlight the boys team as the top returners from last fall. Both Sturdevant and Maldanado were sub 17:30 in their 5k races. Sturdevant became the first Ferndale freshman last spring to break 2 minutes in the 800 running 1:59. Carlson likes the improvement Maldanado has made this offseason to be able train at the level Sturdevant is at.
"Eric (Maldanado) is right there with Landon. They both have been working together this offseason and they are both really strong runners and are dedicated to this sport. Those two are going to be our 1-2 guys this year."
Mentioning this was a sophomore loaded team, some other runners Carlson believes can help this team out are Isaac Bobadilla (18:08), Fischer Drury (18:04), Nolan Ramirez (18:43), and Josiah Bushnell (19:09).
"These guys have shown a lot of maturity since last season. There is a lot of natural talent, it is just getting them all during the offseason doing what they need to do so when they come into the season, they are ready to roll."
In-coming freshman Owen Cool has shown great signs so far the first couple of weeks of practice that he will be bouncing around with the varsity squad this season.
The unfortunate thing for Ferndale is they are not able to compete against the schools they run against at the district meet from down in the 3A WESCO League, with the exception of Squalicum who is in the Northwest Conference. Just because they are young squad unlike schools from Stanwood, Arlington, and Oak Harbor, Ferndale