By Ian Ferguson
The Blaine boys edged out runners from Ferndale to win a wet and wild cross-country race at Silver Lake State Park in Deming.
Mount Baker hosted the 41st annual Mount Baker Invitational race September 26, with nine schools in attendance. Runners braved intermittent downpours and distant thunder.
Blaine won the meet with 72 points. Ferndale came in second with 73 points, and Granite Falls took third with 82 points. Bacon said he was pleasantly surprised by his team’s performance.
“There were a lot of good teams that weren’t there, but even so it’s a great accomplishment for our guys,” said Blaine head coach Carey Bacon.
Parker Morris led the Borderites with a second place finish and a time of 16:24 on the 2.97-mile course. Freshman Dylan Grimme ran a 17:17 for ninth place. Zack Oakley, Tristan Soto and Greg Arps took 19th, 22nd and 25th places respectively, with times in the low 18s.
“[Morris] continues to have a fine season, and Grimme is looking promising,” Bacon said. “There are three or four teams that are quite good in our district, so it’s still a long shot for us to make state as a team. As long as they feel like they can do it, we’re going to try and make it happen.”
Last week, Morris led the pack in a meet at Peace Arch State Park September 23.
Morris ran the 5k course in 17 minutes, 31 seconds, a decent race for the senior who ran a 17:04.93 at the state championship meet last year. Parker was more than 30 seconds ahead of the second place finisher in the boys heat at Peace Arch.
“I felt good through the second lap, but started to lag a little in the third,” Morris said. “This course can be tough in the flats because the grass takes the energy out of your stride, but overall it felt pretty good.”
It was a crisp fall day as teams from Meridian, Mount Baker, Blaine and the Lummi Nation gathered for the race. As a team, the Borderites came in second with 33 points. Meridian won the meet by one point, while Mount Baker came in third with 63 points.
“The boys really did run well,” Bacon said. “We had a meet at South Whidbey last week, and a lot of our guys improved from that meet to this one.”
Grimme placed sixth with a time of 18:57.70, neck-and-neck with Soto, who logged a time of 18:57.90. Oakley was close behind in eighth place with a time of 19:08.
Although there weren’t enough runners on the Blaine girls team to place as a team, one girl ran her way to a top-five finish at Peace Arch State Park: Sophia Dwyer placed fifth with a time of 23:44, a season-best for the sophomore.
The girls team is small this year, but Dwyer is having a good season and the whole team is showing improvement, Bacon said.
Morris said he’s hopeful about the boys team’s prospects this year.
“We got a lot of soccer players on the team this year and we’re doing pretty good,” Morris said. “We’re hoping to get to state as a team.”
Blaine will travel to Lakewood on Saturday, October 10 for the Hole in the Wall XC Invitational. The meet begins at 9 a.m.