The Blaine High School cross country running teams are small this year, with four runners on the girls team and eight on the boys team.
“That’s really tiny,” said head coach Carey Bacon. “We need at least five girls to be able to form a girls team that can earn points at events, and if we don’t have a team it messes with the league allocations and scheduling.”
Bacon is hopeful some runners are planning to sign up with the start of school, as families may have been on vacation during preseason practice. Still, he’s hoping to recruit new athletes to a sport that offers challenges and many rewards.
“Great camaraderie develops among kids who do it,” Bacon said. “It becomes a really supportive environment, so they end up forging great friendships. It’s also challenging, so there’s a great sense of pride and self-esteem as they improve as runners throughout the season. And the third thing is the physical fitness; they get in phenomenal shape.”
Senior Parker Morris is a returning state qualifier who has a good chance of qualifying for the state meet again this year.
“He’s looking really good so far, and at this point he might be the lone state qualifier,” Bacon said. “Greg Arps, another senior, will be near the top of the guys, and Spenser Dodge is another strong veteran.”
On the girls side, Sophia Dwyer returns as a junior after improving all season last year. Improvement is the name of the game and the primary goal in cross-country running, Bacon said.
“It’s always about improvement, regardless of whether anyone gets to state. Any kid can letter on the team. As long as they are working hard and improving, that’s what we’re looking for,” Bacon said.
The team began practicing on August 31. A typical practice consists of training at Pipeline field and longer team runs around town and in local parks, Bacon said.
The Borderites’ first meet is at Lynden Christian on Wednesday, September 9. The meet begins at 4 p.m.