This season, Blaine’s cross country teams have a goal of getting more than one runner to state – their standard of the past two seasons.
Blaine’s cross country teams have historically been small, but they added a few more runners last year when head coach Gabe Bolton took over. This year’s teams are similar in size to last years’ with a little more than 20 runners.
Just a few extra runners can make both training and races easier, said senior team captain Taylee McCormick.
“When I was a freshman, by the end of the season, there were usually just two girls running at meets,” she said. “[With more girls], it’s easier to participate and be part of a team, and it helps to have competition.”
McCormick missed a trip to the state meet last year by seven places. This year, she’s 45 seconds faster and making state is her goal. Sophomore Elee Faulkner will likely lead the girls in races, and McCormick and Claar French will try to match her pace.
“All three are really close together right now in terms of ability and training,” head coach Gabe Bolton said. “That’s what you want. Pack running is amazing if you can get that to happen.”
The boys team has a strong group of returning runners and more athletes than the girls. Malachi Crump, Landen Carlton, Connor Hettinga, Aiden Simpson and Jack Cheatham are some of Blaine’s fastest returning runners. Freshman David Connors could also finish near the front of the pack, Bolton said.
With that many running at a similar pace, the Blaine boys will have a shot at some competitive team scores throughout the season, as the top five on each team score. Having enough runners to accumulate a strong team score is always hard for small schools.
“We’re lightyears ahead of where we were last year,” Bolton said. “The kids who returned are in better shape; we got to do summer training and that helped.”
Blaine cross country teams start the race season at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 14, at the Sehome Invitational. Blaine’s only home meet is at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25, at Peace Arch State Park.