Blaine runner Parker Morris is headed to the state meet for his fourth year in a row after a top-10 finish in the 2A District 1 championships.
Morris has led the boys cross-country team at every meet this year. The senior’s goal all along was to reach the state meet, and after running a 17:06 in the 5,000-meter district race at South Whidbey High School, he’s on his way to Pascoe, Washington for the state meet this Saturday, November 7. Head coach Carey Bacon said it took a lot of training and some smart running to get here.
“He’s really earned his way,” Bacon said. “He put in all the hard work, did everything right training-wise during the season and made good decisions in all of his races.”
The district race was one in which Morris had to develop a strategy and stick to it for success. With uneven, forested terrain and a significant hill, the South Whidbey course is challenging, and on race day it was wet and muddy after heavy rains.
“He was more nervous than I’ve ever seen him before the race,” Bacon said. “We talked about it, and decided he needed to put himself in the top 15 at the end of the first mile.”
Much of the course is hidden from view for spectators and coaches. After the first mile, Bacon saw Morris was running comfortably in 11th place.
“He got where he need to be, and he was able to maintain it the rest of the way,” Bacon said.
Morris gained a position after the first mile. He finished in 10th place with a time of 17:06.73, 16 seconds off his personal record of 16:50 set the week before in the Northwest Conference (NWC) championship meet.
Morris wasn’t the only Borderite to set a personal record at the NWC championships, which were held at Civic Stadium in Bellingham October 22. Eleven Blaine athletes ran their personal best time of the season at the meet. For some runners, it was the last opportunity to set a personal record.
“It was a great way to end the season for a lot of our athletes,” Bacon said.
Parker Morris ran a time of 16:50, good enough for 18th place. Three other Blaine runners set PRs in the boys heat: Dylan Grimme (17:23), Zack Oakley (17:55) and Killian Wright (19:44). Spenser Dodge (19:27) ran his best time of the season and was two seconds off his personal record. Greg Arps (18:59) also ran his best race of the season.
For the girls, sophomore Sophia Dwyer set a personal record with a time of 22:00 for 45th place.
The NWC championships included schools from 1A, 2A and 3A.
The state meet will be held at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pascoe, Washington on Saturday, November 7. The 2A boys race begins at 1:30 p.m.