By Ian Ferguson
Running 5 kilometers in less than 17 minutes is quite a feat for any runner, even after months of training. To do it under pressure in the biggest cross-country meet in the state is even more impressive.
Blaine’s top runner, senior Parker Morris, ran a time of 16:53.6 at the 2A Boys WIAA State Cross Country Meet in Pasco, Washington November 7. The time was 3.6 seconds off his personal record set earlier in the season, and the fact that it only earned him 54th place is a testament to the strong high school runners in the state. Many of the top finishers are from the Northwest Conference.
“He did really well, and it’s hard to tell by that result,” said Blaine cross-country coach Carey Bacon. “To run a sub-17 you have to really be on top of your game.”
The top three finishers were from Anacortes and Sehome. Dylan Holland, from Anacortes, won the meet with a time of 15:36.2. Sehome won the boys meet with a team score of 55, and Liberty won the girls meet with a team score of 75. Brittany Aquino, from East Valley (Spokane), was the individual winner for the girls meet, with a time of 18:28.9.
Cross country can be a team sport, but it’s also an individual battle against the course and your own limitations. The best way to know how you did in a race is to measure it against past performances.
The state meet was at Sun Willows Golf Course, and traversed constant rolling hills. In comparison to the NWC League Championships held at Bellingham’s Civic Stadium, the state course was far more challenging. Cade Brown, from Bellingham, was the only runner to run faster at state than he did in the league championships. One other NWC runner, Colton Johnsen, was .8 seconds slower at state than he was at the league championships. Morris was the next best runner in that regard, with a time at state that was only 3.6 seconds off his time at the league championships.
“He did as well as anyone from our area if you look at it in terms of individual performance,” Bacon said.
Conditions were ideal on race day, cloudy with no wind and mild temperatures. Bacon said Morris was happy with his result.
“He felt like he ran his hardest, and it certainly was a strong effort. He finished the season in grand style,” Bacon said.
Morris competed at state all four years of high school. In Bacon’s tenure as coach, Morris is only the second Borderite to do so.
Without Morris leading the charge next year, the cross country team will have some rebuilding to do. Bacon said freshman Dylan Grimme has a shot at making headlines.
“He’s someone who, if he does the work in the offseason, could come in and be a factor on the team right away,” Bacon said.