Blaine cross country athletes may not have placed high as a team on October 5 at the Nike Twilight Invitational in Marysville, but those results don’t tell the full story. In a first for head coach Gabe Bolton, three Blaine boys finished the 5,000 meters in under 19 minutes.
Malachi Crump finished the hilly course in 18 minutes, 24 seconds (110th out of 193 runners), Landen Carlton finished in 18 minutes and 39.5 seconds (121st), and Connor Hettinga crossed the line in 18 minutes, 53.8 seconds (131st).
“They push each other and challenge each other and as a result run pretty close together,” Bolton said.
The three have finished near each other for much of the season.
Two other Blaine boys, Jack Cheatham and Aiden Simpson, finished about 40 and 50 seconds behind Hettinga, respectively.
“Slowly we want to bring [Cheatham and Simpson] up to the others, and as a group we want to get them all faster,” Bolton said. A pack of five runners can be a powerful force in cross country, as only the fastest five contribute to the team score.
The Borderites only had three girls in the varsity race, as several girls were recovering from illness. Taylee McCormick finished in 21 minutes and 24.2 seconds to place 38th out of 163, Elee Faulkner finished in 21 minutes and 28.3 seconds for 44th, and Claar French finished in 22 minutes, 47.4 seconds, for 88th.
“Taylee, Elee and Claar are all three working really hard and it’s starting to show,” Bolton said. “They’re ready for a big payoff.”
In total, six Blaine runners had personal bests at the Twilight Invitational, including French, McCormick and Carlton.
Next, Blaine cross country runners travel to Lynden to race at 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 10. Blaine travels to the Hole in the Wall Invitational, its biggest meet of the year, on Saturday, October 12 at Lakewood High School.
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