The Future Shine at WCL Middle School Championships

Lynden, WA - The most highly anticipated race of the middle school cross country season came down to finishing the race at your best, and of course, getting the reward of an ice cream treat to cap off the progress you have made over the course of the two month season.

Meridian's Emilee Swanson (Left, Black) and St. Paul's Jack Eschliman (Right, Blue) were your Whatcom County League cross country champions at the Lynden Christian Schools. (Keenan Gray/The Runner)

To finish an undefeated season record, Meridian's Emilee Swanson pulled away with less than half a mile to go from Horizon's Ellie Ochoa (3rd, 10:11) to win in a time of 10:06 for the one and a half mile course at the Lynden Christian Schools yesterday, Oct. 22.

Swanson, who has won seven races this season, says she gave everything she had today and throughout the whole middle school season, which has helped her dominate the entire league.

"I was pretty tired after the race, but I felt good," Swanson said. "To win this last race and have not lost any this season, it feels really good to have accomplish that. I felt good the first race of the season, but I didn't expect to win every race."

Swanson also mentions how her stamina and endurance has helped her this season and allows her to keep going in races when it does get tough.

The Mount Baker girls team were the team champions scoring 60 points led by the top 10 finishes of Angel Cordes (2nd, 10:09) and Erica Cook (4th, 10:12).

First year coach Kim Preston says the girls have been great all year long and made big improvements along the way as the Mountaineers capped off an undefeated meet record.

"The girls have done a really good job all season long," Preston said. "They stuck together in training and pushed each other in practice. When it comes to race time, they are used to having that competitive spirit."

Those who are moving on to the high school level next year who also helped the Mountaineers today were Dylan Stephan-Remy (18th, 11:10), Evie Schmidt (20th, 11:16), and Kristina Snegirev (22nd, 11:18).

Coach Preston said the season was a great success overall despite some road blocks that were in the way in the middle of the season as a few athletes missed some races to sickness and injuries.

Other top 10 finishers in the girls race were Vista's Yana Paliyev (5th, 10:13) and Maya Headrick (6th, 10:13), Lynden's Anna Ellis (7th, 10:24), Horizon's Cailyn Kessen (8th, 10:32), Lynden Christian's Elizabeth Rosen (9th, 10:41), and Nooksack Valley's Monica Garcia (10th, 10:42).

On the boys side, another undefeated season record was finished off yesterday by St. Paul's Jack Eschliman winning in a time of 8:52.

Eschliman, who is only a seventh grader, has been battling all season long with Lynden's Caleb Schouten for the top spot in every race and Eschliman always finds away to be first in every race.

"It was fun race today," Eschliman said. "Me and the Lynden kid were neck and neck the whole time and I eventually got out in front of him. I thought he did a really good job though as we both pushed each other through the race."

Eschliman is excited for track season to get here and continue on racing against some great runners at the middle school level.