Wednesday, September 5 was an ideal day for running cross country – 65 degrees and partially sunny.
Blaine high school senior Tom Bradley led runners with a winning time of 16 minutes, 49 seconds over the 5,000 meter (3.1 mile) course at Peace Arch Park.
“I was not surprised with Bradley’s performance,” said Carey Bacon, Blaine’s cross country coach of 14 years. “He has trained really hard this summer to get his running miles in and his base down. He showed up in excellent shape.”
Bradley ran a nice, disciplined pace then showed his athletic prowess by using a strong 200-meter kick at the finish to beat Dillon Quintana of Mt. Baker High School.
The boys took the overall win with strong showings from David Shapiro and Danny Thorpe, who finished sixth and eighth respectively among 37 runners. Nick Butschli and Alex Dodge made up the rest of Blaine’s winning varsity boys team.
Blaine’s boys have built a strong team by getting some of the spring athletes from the soccer team to turn out for cross country. They are hoping it will build endurance for their sport. Zach Rector and Chad Reimer also competed, helping the Borderites beat Nooksack, Mt. Baker and Lynden Christian. It was a competitive meet with only six points separating Blaine’s winning team score and fourth-place Lynden.
“I was really proud of the whole team’s performance, as Peace Arch Park is a hard course to run,” Bacon said. “Because it is flat terrain it is easy to build up speed and then turn an ankle in the soft grassy holes or the hardpan bare spots.”
On the girls’ side, Hillary Kiele finished seventh with a time of 23 minutes, 10 seconds, and Hannah Kean finished 13th in a field of about three dozen young women.
“We are small in the number of girl runners who turned out, but those who did showed perseverance,” Bacon said. “Kiele is a warrier – she is still recovering from a foot stress fracture. Those are very painful to run on, and I am amazed that she did so well not being able to train properly this summer while injured.”
Special kudos go to Bacon, who set up guide cones on the three-mile Peace Arch course at 1 p.m. only to return at 3:30 p.m. with his team to find a wedding being performed on part of the course. Bacon had to run far and fast to make the last-minute course corrections.