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With Catherine Lhamon out with an injury, freshman Alana Mihill was a lone Wolf in the girls cross country race Saturday at bi-districts. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Coupeville boys (l to r) TJ Rickner, Kyle Burnett, Uriah Kastner, Sam Wynn and Danny Conlisk wait at the starting line.

Burnett slashes down the trail.

It’s high noon in the photo pit, as Dawnelle Conlisk comes out firing.

CHS coach Natasha Bamberger, a state champ in ’85, watches proudly as a new generation reignites the Wolf cross country program.

Conlisk, who trained and traveled with South Whidbey in recent years, ends his senior season as captain of a complete Coupeville team.

The storied past, vibrant present and bright future of Coupeville cross country, all wrapped into one.

The red and black is back (on the trail).

Coupeville’s reborn cross country program, resurrected after a 20+ year absence, went eight runners strong in its first go-around.

Six of those Wolves were on the line Saturday in South Whidbey for the bi-district meet, and wanderin’ camera clicker John Fisken was there to document things.

To see everything he shot, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Cross-Country-2018-2019/XC-2018-10-27-District-1-meet/

And when you do, remember, any purchases help fund scholarships for CHS senior student/athletes. Circle of life and all.

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A leg injury prevented sophomore Catherine Lhamon, Coupeville’s top-ranked cross country runner, from racing Saturday at districts. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The season ended a hair too soon, but there was nothing but positive feelings at the end.

While the Coupeville High School cross country team failed to advance any runners to the state meet, with senior Danny Conlisk narrowly missing out on a second-straight trip, the Wolves finished the bi-district meet Saturday in South Whidbey heads held high.

For one thing, this was the first time in 20+ years a Coupeville harrier TEAM was even in competition.

After years of wandering the desert, with the occasional runner here and there training and traveling with other schools, CHS revived its cross country program this fall.

Led by coach Natasha Bamberger, a state XC champ in 1985 for the Wolves, Coupeville went eight strong, with six boys and two girls.

One of those female runners, sophomore Catherine Lhamon, was almost a sure shot to make it to state, based on her previous times.

Unfortunately, a leg injury late in the season prevented her from running Saturday.

Conlisk, who went to state in 2017 while training and traveling with South Whidbey, crushed his previous-best time on the SWHS course by 47 seconds, but just missed making the cut.

He needed to finish in the top 35, but hit the tape in 39th.

While she was hoping to get runners through to Pasco, and was planning to travel as a united team if they did, Bamberger exited bi-districts wearing a huge smile.

“They put it all out there today against a very strong district,” she said. “I am very proud of their effort today and for their first season as a cross country team for Coupeville.

“The team told me they don’t want the season to end,” Bamberger said. “I know what I can improve on as coach and we are all looking forward to off-season cross-training and building a good base for their track and the 2019 cross country seasons.”

Getting the chance to revive a program she once starred for was huge for Bamberger.

“I don’t know how to express how much I loved coaching this team,” she said. “Starting from scratch, this team has succeeded in building a culture around the love of running, working hard, pushing their limits.

“They are an exceptionally inclusive group that has fun while they are at it, which is not easy to do in a tough sport like cross country,” Bamberger added. “The team made some great friends out there on this journey, from coaches and other teams like South Whidbey all embracing and encouraging our new runners all the way.

“I can’t wait to see where my three seniors go next and how this young returning team builds on this year.”

 

Complete Saturday results (5,000-meter course):

 

GIRLS:

Alana Mihill (74th) 24:36.15

 

BOYS:

Danny Conlisk (39th) 18:11.02
Sam Wynn (81st) 20:28.09
TJ Rickner (93rd) 21:28.48
Uriah Kastner (98th) 23:10.12
Kyle Burnett (100th) 24:46.20

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