Bellingham - On a day in Bellingham at Civic Stadium filled with dumping rain and high winds, Whatcom County distance runners seemed to be right at home with the conditions yesterday in the annual Birger Solberg Invite hosted by Sehome High School.
While most coaches were able to go into heated rooms during the cold day, the athletes were all bundled up in blankets and jackets in the stands as they sat and waited to compete in their events.
2k Steeplechase the Highlight of the Day
The first race of the day probably drew the most attention as 18 boys and 9 girls ran in the 2000 meter steeplechase. Some of the competitors in the race have some experience running in this event, while others were just trying to climb over the barriers to keep going.
On the boys' side, Michael Cepowski of South Whidbey came from behind to beat Curtis senior Brody Sodon in the last 100 meters, winning in a time of 6:48.43. Lynden's Josiah Diacogiannis and Nooksacks Arlin Holder placed 13th and 14th for the County's top spots.
In the girl's race, Kamiak's Alicia Anderson won her 2nd consecutive Birger Solberg 2000 meter steeplechase ran in 7:29.25. Nooksack's Alyce Harlan seemed to be enjoying the entire race and stormed back from 5th place to finish in 2nd place with a time of 7:52.75 in her first ever steeplechase.
Another unique distance event featured on Saturday was the 4 x 800 meter relay. The Henry Jackson boys and Anacortes girls would claim both of those 1st place finishes.
Isaiah Ellis and Lucas Cunningham Finish 2nd in 1600 Races
What started off as a very fast race for the Frosh/Soph level stayed that way as Issac Cortes of Granite Falls won in a time of 4:34.94, beating Lynden's Isaiah Ellis (4:35.53) for the top spot. Nooksack Valley's Logan Clabaugh (4:47.91) was the only other Whatcom County competitor in the race to finish in the top 10.
In the boy's varsity 1600 meter race, from the get go the race went back and forth with the top 5 runners leading at one point during the race. Henry Jackson's Jospeh Skoog in the end took 1st in 4:33.8. Sehome's Lucas Cunningham took 2nd with a time of 4:36.07, a personal best for him.
Due to high winds, Cunningham was forced to pack in the lead group the first couple of laps before making any moves.
"I was just trying to tuck in and run smart for the first couple of laps." said Cunningham after his race. "It definitely went out really slow but it helped that my teammate took it out to create some separation."
With about 500 meters to go is when Cunningham finally made his move to separate himself from the 3rd and 4th place position. Sehome's other top finisher was Tadeusz Pforte finishing 4th.
Tate Hutchins Takes Lead 1st Lap, Falls Short of 800 Crown
Another exciting 800 was on tap yesterday at Civic featuring Lynden's Nick Kildall and Tate Hutchins and Sehome's Lucas Cunningham.
Immediately as the gun went off, Hutchins went out from the get go running 29 seconds for his first 200 and then his first lap split was 58 seconds putting him into the first place position.
With 250 meters left in the race, Interlake's Dante Paszkeicz came closing in on Hutchins and eventually took the lead. Hutchins wouldn't go away though as he was fighting the last 100 meters to stay in contact with the Interlake senior. Unfortunately, Hutchins couldn't catch Paszkeicz who ran 1:57.09 for the victory.
Not very many competitors favor the wind, but in Hutchins case, he seemed to enjoy it.
"It was kind of fun running in the wind today." said Hutchins. "It was really my first race of the season so it was really fun, and I went out fast, held on the best I could, and got under 2 minutes which is what I wanted to do."
Hutchins also enjoyed running against a competitor from the 3A level as the Interlake runner was pulling Hutchins through to now have the fastest 800 meter time in the state at the 2A level.
Girls 800 "Stops" After 100 Meters, Interlake Girl Wins
An unusual moment took place in the girl's 800 meter race where it appeared about 150 meters in the race, every girl in the 3rd heat immediately stopped. No girl wanted to take the lead in the race due to the winds, and eventually there was a slight moment where everyone just started to walk.
In the end, Interlake's Ellie Erikson won the slow girl's race in 2:24.84. Saville Feist of Anacortes, who was in a car accident last summer, finished 2nd and Anja Saloway finished 3rd.
Other Results and Whatcom County's Top Finisher's
-Interlake's Erickson goes on to win 2nd race winning the 1600 in 5:13.59. Whatcom County's top finisher was a 4th place finish by Sehome's Cameron Hodges with a personal best time of 5:22.17. Bellingham's top finishers were Grace Much and Kaelyn Devaney finishing 12th and 13th.
-Skoog of Jackson win's 2nd race in the 3200 with a time of 9:48.33. The first mile in the boy's race was a sluggish 5:05, but Skoog closed his last mile in 4:33 to win. LC's Eric Steiger placed 3rd in 9:54.63, while teammate Brooks DeWaard finished 9th in 10:06.57.
-Heather Hanson from Anacortes won the girl's 3200 in a personal best time of 11:15.22. Nooksack's Harlan finished in 6th, just 4 hours later after completing the 2000 steeplechase, running a season best time of 11:41.44.
Ty Veldhuisen (2:06.82, 800)
John Johnson (2:09.85, 800)
Caleb Schmotzer (5:00.74, 1600)
Evan Hildreth (5:06.6, 1600)
Gabe Trahan-Halme (5:26.57, 1600)
Rosie Thompason (2:37.31, 800)
Grace Much (5:37.03, 1600)
Kaelyn Devaney (5:44.93, 1600)
Edie Brames (5:47.33, 1600)
Zoe Thompson (5:56.95, 1600)
Skye Saling (5:58.95, 1600)
Trevor Freeland (2:19.87, 800)
Taylee McCormick (2:50.35, 800, 6:20.16, 1600)
Trevor Freeland, Malachi Crump, Max Miller, Dalton Mouw (9:44.73, 4 x 800)
Tate Hutchins (1:58.98, 800)
Nick Kildall (2:03.1, 800)
Isaiah Ellis (4:35.53, 1600)
Roscoe Perry (10:18.14, 3200)
Josiah Diacogiannis (7:46.02, 2k Steeplechase)
Maggie Mussard (6:58.8, 1600, 10:17.54, 2k Steeplechase)
Kaylee Despain (7:05.05, 1600)
TJ VanderYacht, Grant Heeringa, Max Blankers, Jacob Oberstadt (10:28.91, 4 x 800)
Eric Steiger (9:54.63, 3200)
Brooks DeWaard (10:06.57, 3200)
Aaron Doucet (2:23.29, 800)
Peter Adams (2:15.61, 800)
Brigid Cronk (10:49.73, 2k Steeplechase)
Shay Knutson (2:51.79, 800)
Arlin Holder (7:46.38, 2k Steeplechase, 10:49.73, 3200)
Logan Clabaugh (4:47.91, 1600)
Nate Snow (4:57.15, 1600)
Eric Riley (2:31.16, 800)
Alyce Harlan (7:52.75, 2k Steeplechase, 11:41.44, 3200)
Brooke DeBeeld (5:51.98, 1600)
Lily Snow (2:52.35, 800)
Lucas Cunningham (2:01.54, 800, 4:36.07, 1600)
Tadeusz Pforte (4:43.77, 1600, 10:17.08, 3200)
Jacob Alexander (2:10.22, 800, 4:45.59, 1600)
Ryan Doran (2:13.91, 800)
Dominik Riemann (5:11.81, 1600)
Coleman Brummel (5:15.64, 1600)
Colemna Brummel, Dominik Riemann, Javen Reid, Mason Green (10:41.64, 4 x 800)
Cameron Hodges (5:22.17, 1600)
Jonquil Loeffelholz (6:26.11, 1600)
Josie Marriner (2:36.65, 800)
Rosie Kirker (12:16.10, 3200)
Emma Berreth (12:46.87, 3200)