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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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Coupeville High School cross country runners hang out before Thursday’s meet in Shoreline. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

One mission accomplished, and another begins.

The Coupeville High School cross country squad capped its first regular season in 20+ years Thursday with an appearance at a three-team meet in Shoreline.

Now, after dueling King’s and South Whidbey across a 2.4 mile course, the Wolves will have some time to rest, rehab and prep for the postseason.

The North Sound Conference meet hits Oct. 20 and will be held at Lakewood High School.

After that comes the district meet Oct. 27 at South Whidbey, and then, if any of the Wolves qualify, the state meet Nov. 3 in Pasco.

Last year, when the CHS harriers were just three guys training and traveling with South Whidbey High School’s team, Danny Conlisk advanced to the big dance.

The Wolf senior is looking for a return trip to state, while sophomore Catherine Lhamon has been putting up times which would also punch her ticket.

She missed Thursday’s meet, however, as she’s healing from a pulled muscle she suffered at the end of the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational last weekend.

 

Thursday’s results:

 

GIRLS:

Alana Mihill (14th) 19:25.88

 

BOYS:

Danny Conlisk (11th) 14:09.02

Sam Wynn (25th) 15:34.20

TJ Rickner (34th) 16:35.92

Uriah Kastner (35th) 16:41.13

Kyle Burnett (39th) 17:47.48

Chris Ruck (43rd) 18:48.05

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Catherine Lhamon is the only CHS cross country runner ranked in the Top 50 at the league, district and state level. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Catherine Lhamon waits for no one.

The Coupeville High School sophomore is in just her first year of running cross country, but she’s already making inroads on being one of the best the state has to offer.

With one regular-season meet left on the schedule – this Thursday at King’s — Lhamon is the only Wolf to be currently ranked in the top 50 at the league, district and state level.

Teammates Danny Conlisk and Alana Mihill hit the first two of those criteria, while Sam Wynn is among the best in the North Sound Conference.

Where Coupeville’s top runners stand in 5,000 meter races as we wind our way towards the postseason:

 

GIRLS:

Catherine Lhamon (20:35.3) — 6th in league; 7th in District 1; 44th in 1A
Alana Mihill (23:54.4) — 17th in league; 37th in District 1

 

BOYS:

Danny Conlisk (18:04.0) — 12th in league; 21st in District 1
Sam Wynn (19:44.9) — 39th in league

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CHS sophomore Sam Wynn was part of a pack of Wolves who ran Saturday at the Carl Westling Invitational in Langley. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Middle School runners Cole White, Carolyn Lhamon (center) and Claire Mayne nabbed medals for a top 15 finish. (Elizabeth Bitting photo)

The cross country revival is operating at full force.

Coupeville relaunched its program this fall after a two-decade absence, and Saturday marked the first time both the high school and middle school teams competed together.

The place to be was Langley, where the 40th annual Carl Westling Invitational attracted hundreds of harriers.

While the Wolf high school runners were competing in their third meet, it was the debut for their younger counterparts.

And it went off very well, as three CMS runners — Carolyn Lhamon, Cole White and Claire Mayne — brought home medals for placing in the top 15 finishers.

“OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS SO FUN!!!!!,” said slightly-excited CMS coach Elizabeth Bitting. “They all did amazing!!! Great attitudes!! I am SO PROUD of each of them!

“They ran so strong, all finished hard, this is one happy, super impressed, super proud coach!!!!!! They are all truly amazing!”

 

Complete Saturday results:

 

High School – GIRLS (5000 meters):

Catherine Lhamon (35th) 23:01.57
Alana Mihill (70th) 25:10.71

 

High School – BOYS (5000 meters):

Danny Conlisk (75th) 19:18.45
Sam Wynn (107th) 20:21.86
Uriah Kastner (134th) 25:07.79
Kyle Burnett (135th) 25:08.54
Chris Ruck (137th) 25:39.46

 

Middle School – GIRLS (1.7 miles):

Carolyn Lhamon (12th) 13:26.18
Claire Mayne (13th) 13:26.74
Helen Strelow (22nd) 14:40.13
Cristina McGrath (24th) 15:12.42
Erica McGrath (25th) 15:18.73
Allison Nastali (30th) 16:08.33
Samantha McMahan (31st) 16:10.62

 

Middle School – BOYS (1.7 miles):

Cole White (8th) 11:48.02
Tate Wyman (25th) 12:52.92
Aiden Anderson (28th) 13:02.76
Hayden Harry (41st) 14:24.36
Andrew Williams (42nd) 14:25.86

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Catherine Lhamon finished 15th out of 121 sophomore girls at Saturday’s Sehome Invitational. (Helene Lhamon photo)

Catherine Lhamon is on the attack.

Running in just her second high school cross country meet Saturday, the Coupeville sophomore sparkled at the epic 36-team Sehome Invitational.

With so many teams in attendance, the event broke its races down by classes, and yet almost every one of the eight varsity heats featured 100 or more runners.

Lhamon came pounding down the back stretch, picking off 10 runners over the final mile of her two-mile race to claim 15th out of 121 runners.

The speedy Wolf hit the tape in 13 minutes, 59.95 seconds.

The massive meet drew in teams from every classification in Washington state, with all three Whidbey Island schools making the trip.

Other Coupeville results:

Freshman girls — Alana Mihill (33rd) 15:42.79

Sophomore boys — Sam Wynn (72nd) 12:48.23; TJ Rickner (120th) 14:10.90

Junior boys — Chris Ruck (117th) 15:52.05

Senior boys — Danny Conlisk (53rd) 12:26.31; Kyle Burnett (91st) 16:30.07

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