Bellingham, WA - It does not get any better than the weather we have right now. With blue skies out, leaves falling, and it even smells like fall outside, it must be cross country season here in Whatcom County. Stop number 5 takes us to Squalicum High School for our 2018 cross country team previews.
Head Coach: Erin Fraser (2nd Year)
Total Runners: 40
Key Returners: Joe Brodeur (Jr.), Gabe Regimbal (Sr.), Griffin Rinauro (Sr.), Jacob Rogers (Sr.)
We Don't Know Them, But We Will: Miles Bartlett (Fr.), Ben Latta (Fr.)
The Squalicum Storm boys cross country team come into the 2018 campaign with plenty of returning runners from last year's group, but the culture of the program is still trying to be found with all of them, and hopefully what they did this summer for training can make a mark for this season and for the future as well.
Head coach Erin Fraser returns for her 2nd season with the Storm and there is tons of excitement from her and the rest of the staff after the work the boys have put in this offseason prior to the first day of practice.
"This whole summer has been the first in a while that the boys have trained outside of the season," said Fraser. "It was nice to see a lot of the returning runners and new athletes run throughout the summer and get that mileage and base they need for this season."
Junior Joe Brodeur is back as the Storm's top runner after a great sophomore season running a best 5k time of 16:50 at the Northwest Conference Championships and then finishing 33rd at the 3A District Meet running against some of the best talent this state has to offer.
Coach Fraser sees Brodeur as this years varsity leader and hopes he can help them all out.
"For Joe, having him bring all the guys running varsity together, train together, do the workouts together, and even run as a pack."
A senior bunch in Griffin Rinauro, Gabe Regimbal, and Jacob Rogers are back this season joining Brodeur. All three runners ran within 19 minutes in their 5k races last fall.
New faces who join the Storm this season are freshmen Miles Bartlett and Ben Latta. Both boys ran track together at Whatcom Middle School and went 1-2 in the 800 at the Bellingham All City Championships. Bartlett was the only middle schooler during the track season to break the 5 minute barrier in the 1600 running 4:58.53. Coach Fraser is really excited to see the progress these two make in the season.
Squalicum recently hired assistant coach Chris Fredlund, an alumni of Squalicum and also ran for Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. Fredlund was on the 2013 Squalicum boy's cross country team that finished 2nd as a team at state, while he placed 3rd overall.
With Fredlund joining the team, coach Fraser will hope his presence at practice and at meets will help the boys understand what it takes to be a good runner, as well as what it means to be part of a very successful program.
"With Chris joining us, this will show our boys someone who graduated from their school can run really well and be that successful. Chris is in great running shape coming from LMU and was able to run with the boys this summer. His knowledge of the sport will help them out a ton, especially on days when we do workouts, making sure they are running at the pace they need to be at."
The Squalicum Storm boys are "brewing up a storm" in the cross country program. Hopefully this will them carry throughout the entire season all the way up to the state meet.
Key Returners: Maggie Davis-Bower (Sr.)
We Don't Know Them, But We Will: Grace Doud (Fr.), Laura Halsell (Fr.), Maria Salomon (Jr.)
It has been a while since the Squalicum girl's cross country program have been at the top of the Northwest Conference and last years team had a strong core of seniors that unfortunately will not be back for this season. Head coach Erin Fraser says she was fortunate enough to coach the three seniors from last year's team.
"Grace (Oswin), Abby (Koenig), and Maria (Jorgensen) were great seniors that worked really hard and it is hard to lose them for this season." said Fraser.
Grace Oswin, who is running for the University of Portland, was the only cross country runner in both programs to qualify for the state cross meet, so losing her will be a big piece missing for the Squalicum girls team.
For the Squalicum girls, a rebuilder year is in the mix with only 1 senior returning in Maggie Davis-Bower, while the rest are underclassman. Davis-Bower has the best 5k time from last season running 23:15 at the Northwest Conference Championship meet.
In coming freshman Grace Doud and Laura Halsell, the daugther of long-time head coach of the Western Washington University Cross and Track programs, Pee-Wee Halsell, join the cross country team this year with tons of running experience from middle school and put in quite the training this summer.
"Both girls are good runners," says Fraser. "They trained all summer, even went to White Pass Cross Country Camp and did the all-comer meets at the high school to get in great shape for this season."
Junior Maria Salomon and sophomore Christina Montero will help out this year's team and should make an impact later on. Salomon ran 19:36.5 as a middle schooler a few years ago and Montero is coming off a track season full of numerous personal best times in the 800, 1600, and 3200.
Coach Fraser wants her girls to believe in themselves and work hard throughout the entire season. Making improvement and getting better is her goal for the team this fall.
"Seeing the girls show up everyday giving their best and hope they can look back on the season and be proud, excited and create fond memories because most people that are in the running community like to look back on their high school career because of the success and enjoyment they had while running."