Posts Tagged ‘cross country’

Aidan Wilson hits the track in full stride. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Catherine Lhamon stays a step (or two) ahead of the pack.

Reiley Araceley eyeballs the crowd (and maybe the paparazzi) as he flies by.

Freshmen power unleashed. CHS 9th graders (l to r) Helen Strelow, Cristina McGrath, and Claire Mayne explode from the starting line.

The Wolves went for a run, and John Fisken went for a drive.

The intrepid photo snapper traveled down to Bellingham Saturday, where he caught the Coupeville High School cross country squad in action at a 43-school meet.

The pics above are courtesy him, but are not the only ones he shot.

To see everything his camera captured, pop over to:


And, if you should choose to purchase any glossies for grandma, a percentage of each sale goes to help fund scholarships for CHS senior student/athletes.

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Freshman Mitchell Hall had the best performance out of 13 CHS cross country runners Saturday at a 43-school meet in Bellingham. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Back, l to r, Cameron Epp, Mitchell Hall, Eli Kastner, Aiden Anderson, coach Luke Samford. Front: Aidan Wilson, Sam Wynn, Reiley Araceley, Tate Wyman.

Back: Alana Mihill, Catherine Lhamon. Front: Cristina McGrath, Helen Strelow, Claire Mayne.

They had plenty of company.

Coupeville High School sent 13 runners to the Gear Up Sports Northwest Preview/Sehome Invitational in Bellingham Saturday, and those Wolves found themselves surrounded on all sides.

There were 43 schools represented at the meet, with more than 100 runners in each of nine races.

The day’s competition was divided up by class, with freshmen running against each other, and on through sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Coupeville’s top performance came from freshmen Mitchell Hall, who covered the two-mile course in 12 minutes, 46.64 seconds.

He was one of eight Wolf boys to compete — six of those harriers are freshmen — while the CHS girls sent five to the starting line.

Coupeville is right back at it next Saturday, when they travel a much-shorter distance.

The destination will be South Whidbey High School, and the event will be the 41st edition of the Carl Westling Invitational.


Saturday’s results:




Claire Mayne (57th) 15:46.87
Helen Strelow (58th) 15:47.73
Cristina McGrath (100th) 18:01.51 *PR*


Alana Mihill (43rd) 15:27.00


Catherine Lhamon (30th) 14:44.49




Mitchell Hall (55th) 12:46.64
Aidan Wilson (77th) 13:15.83
Reiley Araceley (104th) 13:44.76
Cameron Epp (111th) 14:00.36 *PR*
Tate Wyman (114th) 14:03.74
Aiden Anderson (134th) 14:52.33


Sam Wynn (106th) 13:05.14
Eli Kastner (145th) 16:29.42

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Through rain or sunshine (probably rain), the Coupeville Middle School cross country runners are ready for a new season. (Photo by Morgan White)

Cross country is booming.

A little over a week out from her team’s first meet, Coupeville Middle School coach Elizabeth Bitting has 27 runners on her roster, a group which includes a hardy mix of returning veterans and first-time competitors.

It’s an almost perfectly balanced roster as well, with 14 boys and 13 girls answering the call of the trail.

One new quirk is the addition of sixth-graders to the mix, as Washington state has opened cross country and track to them starting this school year.

The youngest members of the team won’t count towards point totals, but get a chance to discover the sport, which is invaluable.

“They will be attending all races with us and running in all races,” Bitting said. “They get to experience the whole adventure and get a sneak peak of their competition in the future. This is a good thing!

“Just last cross country season 6th grade athletes were not able to participate in any sport at the middle school level and now they can participate in cross country and track. Strides are being made.”

As the early practices have played out, Bitting has been thrilled to see how her runners are already embracing the sport.

“Week one has gone AMAZING!!!!,” she said. “All these students are incredible athletes. They have been working so hard and already showing so much dedication.

“I’ve even had to increase some of the runs because they were just up to it,” Bitting added. “For example, day one, I ran the route backwards and when I met up with the front pack I casually asked, “Up to running further?” Without a beat the leader answers, “Sure. Why not?” So they ran farther!”

The CMS harriers make their competitive debut Saturday, Sept. 21 at South Whidbey’s Carl Westling Invitational.


The roster:



Dianne Brown
Teagan Calkins
Aleksia Jump
Brynn Parker
Liza Zustiak


Edie Bittner
Aubrey Blitch
Lillian Stanwood
Ayden Wyman


Erica McGrath
Samantha McMahon
Sofia Milasich
Marlen Montiel




Cody Badger
Adrian Cunningham
Malachi Somes
George Spear


Jack Porter
Johnny Porter
Landon Roberts
Thomas Strelow


Alex Clark
Dayvon Donavon
Hayden Harry
Hank Milnes
Gabe Reed
Cole White

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Coupeville High School cross country kicked off a new season Thursday at a six-team North Sound Conference meet in Arlington. (Photos by Susan Hulst)

Ready to hit the trail.

Year two got off to a nice start.

The Coupeville High School cross country squad and new coach Luke Samford made their debut Thursday at a six-team meet in Arlington and growth was the word of the day.

The Wolves, who returned to the trails last season after a two-decade absence, have increased their numbers, and are doing so in the best way possible – with the addition of freshmen who could help carry the program for years to come.

Facing off with its fellow North Sound Conference rivals, Coupeville sent nine boys and four girls to the starting line, with eight of the 13 being 9th graders.

The Wolves have 17 runners on the roster, including three boys and one girl (including two more freshmen) who didn’t compete in the first meet.

That’s up from 2018, when CHS had six boys and two girls on its roster.

Those two female returnees — junior Catherine Lhamon and sophomore Alana Mihill — had the best performances of the day, finishing 13th and 15th in a strong field.

Naomi Smith, a powerhouse from King’s, took the individual title on the two-mile course at River Meadows Park, cruising across the line in 11 minutes, 9.50 seconds.

On the boys side, freshman Mitchell Hall was the top Wolf, claiming 25th, while Isaac Cortes of Granite Falls copped the crown.

The South Whidbey boys and King’s girls won the team titles.


Coupeville’s runners:


Catherine Lhamon (13th) 14:36.80
Alana Mihill
(15th) 15:07.70
Claire Mayne
(17th) 15:14.10
Helen Strelow
(19th) 15:45.40


Mitchell Hall (25th) 12:38.20
Sam Wynn (38th) 13:02.50
Aidan Wilson (39th) 13:02.80
Reiley Araceley (47th) 13:43.50
Tate Wyman (49th) 14:02.30
Cameron Epp (52nd) 14:04.00
Chris Ruck (53rd) 14:04.30
Aiden Anderson (55th) 14:16.70
Eli Kastner (64th) 15:17.90

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Sam Wynn is the top returning male runner for Coupeville High School cross country. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Alana Mihill (center) and Catherine Lhamon are back to pace an expanding girls team.

Step by step, the program is coming back.

Coupeville High School jumped back into cross country last season, after a two-decade absence, and found some immediate success.

Now, with a new coach on hand, the Wolves want to keep building numbers, while preparing their harriers to run far into the postseason.

Luke Samford, who spent the previous seven years coaching cross country and track at the college level, replaces Natasha Bamberger, who stepped down to focus on her real-world job.

The new Wolf head man immediately jumped into things, and has a good mix of returning runners and newcomers.

Juniors Sam Wynn and Catherine Lhamon and sophomore Alana Mihill top the letter winners, while three freshmen have already made their presence felt.

“Right now, on the men’s side, Mitchell Hall has been looking really good at the first few practices,” Samford said. “It is evident he put in some miles over the summer, and it shows.

“On the women’s side, our two freshmen girls, Claire (Mayne) and Helen (Strelow), have both been finding their strengths!,” he added. “I’m really pleased with their attitudes and work ethic. They are going to be good running partners for the future, too.”

The biggest challenge for the Wolves will be to grow, both as individual runners and as a unit.

“We are a young team!,” Samford said. “There’s not a lot of racing experience in the upperclassmen either, since the program is so new.”

Putting in the miles should pay off down the road, however.

“Cross country is a sport where the big competitions happen in October and November, but the season is won during July and August!,” Samford said. “It takes time to get ready for high-level racing.

“I think we missed some miles over the summer, but our raw talent, work ethic, and systematic approach to training will shore up these weakness,” he added. “What we need most, is to put our noses to the grindstone, and get the work done.

“Focusing on having consistent days of quality training turn into weeks, into months, and into seasons, is the key to success in this sport.”

With Coupeville also restarting its cross country program at the middle school level in 2018, one of the key building blocks was set in place.

Runners shaped by CMS coach Elizabeth Bitting are already making the jump up to high school, while the next waves will be where the real pay-offs happen.

“On the boys and girls sides we have a lot of freshman with a tremendous amount of potential,” Samford said. “Our returners also had a year of great coaching last year, so they know what it’s going to take to get to the next competitive level.

“Our middle school program is AWESOME and will be a great source of getting talented athletes in Coupeville into the sport.”

While numbers are up for both girls and boys, the girls are still a hair away from having a full roster.

Mihill and Lhamon ran last year, and the addition of Strelow and Mayne bumps the girls team to four harriers, but they need a fifth runner to be a full-scoring team in competition.

“We need a few more girls to join us!!!!!,” Samford pleaded. “To any parents, grandparents, or to the kids themselves — cross country is a sport about camaraderie, inclusion, and self-improvement.

“Yes, it’s difficult. It’s worth it, though!”

Coupeville, which has seven regular-season meets on the books, kicks off its season Sept. 12 at Granite Falls.

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