Updated: Nov 1, 2018
Langley, WA - After winning her fourth consecutive Northwest Conference championship the week before, Bellingham's Annika Reiss won her fourth consecutive District One and Two 2A cross country championship this past Saturday, Oct. 27, at South Whidbey High School.
Reiss ran a time of 18:28.27 for the 5,000 meter course and finished one minute and 30 seconds in front of the second place runner. Earlier this season, she had run on the same course and finished second in the South Whidbey invitational.
Comparing to the race from the week before, Reiss said she had the same goal in the sense of going out at a hard pace and keeping it at a constant rate. Also, she was running again by herself for the entire race just like at the conference meet.
"I really enjoyed the course," said Reiss. "It was kind of weird to think it was my last time running it, but I am happy about how the race went."
Next week, Reiss has the chance to do something no Red Raider girl has ever done before, which is to win a individual state cross country championship. If she is able to accomplish that, no question she is the programs best runner ever in the history of Bellingham High School.
She won't be traveling alone to state though. The Bellingham girls finished second as a team scoring 72 points.
Grace Much and Livi Lackland Henry placed fifth and sixth in times of 20:08.28 and 20:08.91 for Bellingham. Izabelle Anderson, Piper Brown, Lily Koplowitz-Fleming, and Skye Saling will also move on to state with Bellingham.
Finishing in first in front of Bellingham was the Cedarcrest Red Wolves scoring a total of 66 points.
The Red Wolves top runners came in the top 10 with Sonja Blyker (20:11.22) placing eighth and Elise Dombek (20:35.9) placing ninth.
The team win was a little surprise for head coach Bruce McDowell as he mentioned Bellingham's biggest strength was their top three girls.
"We knew we had some depth on our team, but I wasn't quite sure if that was going to be able to translate with Bellingham's front three," McDowell said. "We were able to get it done and scraped it by. I thought the girls did a super job."
South Whidbey's course's terrain is grass, mud, and loose gravel for those that have never been there before. There is only one proper shoe to wear for this course and is a cross country spike.
Cedarcrest's Hannah Brabec hadn't warn a pair of spikes up to this race and made the right decision to go with them this week. Brabec, who ran 21:09.49 to place 16th, has been the Red Wolves seventh runner all year according to McDowell and ended being the fourth runner in this race.
"Standing out for us was Hannah (Brabec). She got spikes this week for the first time and those were difference maker in how she raced and how are team performed."
Along with Brabec, the Red Wolves finishers going to state are Aryia Farnworth (21:01.09), Cecelia Kiesow (21:15.55), Lauren Krause (21:21.14), and Katelyn Wells (21:29.86).
After the associated press cross country polls came out this past Sunday, Cedarcrest goes into the 2A state meek ranked No. 2 overall.
"Truthfully, the race was a bit of a shock to us," said McDowell. "We knew we could finish better than third, so to pull this one out by a couple of points was good for our team."
Two more schools qualified from this district meet. Sehome was third with 78 points and Liberty-Issaquah was fourth with 98 points.
The Mariners top runners were Isabelle Douglas (20:06.88) taking fourth and Rosie Kirker (20:42.79) in 10th. The Patriots top runner was Kailee Johnson (20:10.80) taking seventh.
Placing second overall as an individual was Anacortes' Saville Feist running 19:59.26, followed by Burlington-Edison's Mila Hoagland in third running 20:05.41.
Four schools and 28 individuals will be moving onto the 2A state meet this Saturday in Pasco, Washington at Sun Willows Golf Course. The girls race begins at 11:00 a.m..
Qualified Teams (including their runners):
Cedarcrest - Sonja Blyker, Elsie Dombek, Aryia Farnworth, Hannah Brabec, Cecelia Kiesow, Lauren Krause, Katelyn Wells
Bellingham - Annika Reiss, Grace Much, Livi Lackland Henry, Izabelle Anderson, Piper Brown, Lily Koplowitz-Fleming, Skye Saling
Sehome - Isabelle Douglas, Rosie Kirker, Celia McDowall, Emma Berreth, Aspen Allsop, Gracia Powell, Jonquil, Loeffelholz
Liberty(Issaquah) - Kailee Johnson, Anna Grabowski, Jenna Long, Bailee Hawkins, Haley Archer, Sophia Halgren, Brigitte Larkin
Anacortes - Saville Feist
Blaine - Eleeshiyah Faulkner
Burlington-Edison - Mila Hoagland, Sage Mailhiot, Annika Schlimmer
Lakewood - Callie Buchanan, Alexa Daily, Madison Howe
Mountlake Terrace - Alexandria Gill-More, Simone Davison