Bellingham, WA - For the first time ever in the era of the Northwest Conference, Bellingham's Annika Reiss became the first athlete in conference history to win four consecutive cross country conference championships yesterday at Civic Stadium, winning in a time of 17:44.17.
Reiss, who has now won 6 races this season, said this has always been one of her favorites courses and it showed as she put up a dominating performance winning by over a minute.
"It feels really good to win," Reiss said. "I love this race and this course. To represent my school and this city, taking home the win couldn't make me any happier."
Looking ahead to next week, Reiss said this was a big confidence booster for her and can't wait to get back to work with her team at districts.
"The goal is to keep winning from here on out. Working on a good mindset and with my team will be the main focus up to districts. I just want to enjoy these last couple of weeks of my high school cross country career."
Reiss is pretty happy about the great career she has put together the last four seasons, but no one could be more proud of what she has accomplished than her coach, Bill McClement.
"(Annika) reflects about what we do in the workouts and than connects them to the races," McClement said. "You really couldn't ask for anything more in an athlete. She conducts herself with grace, dignity, and respect for all the other kids on the team. I can't say enough about how much she has meant not only to this team, but the entire program."
While talking with McClement, we found out the No. 10 Bellingham girls had also won the team NWC team title beating No. 8 Sehome 66-92.
The Bellingham girls have now won their last four of five meets in the past month. McClement is impressed with the maturity the team has shown these last couple of weeks.
"The girls have been taking ownership and engaging themselves in the whole process all season long," McClement said. "They are fighting all the way to state to be the best team they can be."
At the beginning of the year, the Bellingham girls were placed No. 1 in the preseason 2A rankings. With two weeks left in the season, they are on the brink of dropping out. McClement doesn't worry about those stats at all he said.
"The girls are going to do what they are going to do when it comes to race time. All I know is we have to focus on the things we have to do to run as well as we can."
The Red Raiders had two more runners finish the top 10 along with Reiss. Grace Much ran her best time ever in high school running 19:01.1 to finish in 4th. Livi Lackland Henry ran 19:40.40 and finished in 10th.
Ferndale's Jaclyn Denham led the Golden Eagles with her 2nd place finish and a new personal best time of 18:52.5. Saville Feist of Anacortes was 3rd running 19:00.28 for the Seahawks.
Four freshmen took the fifth-eighth place positions with Meridian's Kayla Aalpoel running the best time of the four in 19:02.07. Behind Aalpoel were Burlington's Mila Hoagland (6th, 19:12.18), and Squalicum's Laura Halsell (7th, 19:22.49) and Grace Doud (8th, 19:35.95).
The second place Sehome Mariners top runner was Isabelle Douglas finishing 9th with a massive personal best time of 19:37.05.
All 14 of the Northwest Conference teams will be at South Whidbey High School next Saturday, Oct. 27, as they compete in the District 1 Championships for a trip on the line to the state meet in Pasco, Washington.
For more results from the NWC Championships, visit: https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/146476/results/616615
For photos from the NWC Championships, visit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/therunnerwa/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1157355841081657