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Cristina McGrath is one of many Coupeville cross country runners working hard this summer. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Tate (grey hoodie) and Ayden Wyman put in some miles. (Photos courtesy Wyman family)

Pandemic or not, Coupeville’s cross country runners continue to burn up the prairie.

Wolf harrier coach Elizabeth Bitting had 14 runners submit mileage stats this week, with nine completing the first of four virtual competitions.

All combined, Coupeville’s fleet-footed young guns piled up 119.3 miles, bringing the team’s summer total to 372 miles.

The first virtual race was a 1.98 mile workout tabbed as “The Super Sherman Run.”

 

Results:

 

High School:

Tate Wyman (1st) 13:33
Alex Wasik (2nd) 13:41
Helen Strelow (3rd) 13:43
Hank Milnes (4th) 14:05
Cristina McGrath (5th) 16:42
Erica McGrath (6th) 17:17

 

Middle School:

Thomas Strelow (1st) 13:39
Nic Wasik (2nd) 14:12
Ayden Wyman (3rd) 14:59

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Wolf cross country runners put in summer work. (Photos courtesy Elizabeth Bitting)

Cross country endures in the age of COVID-19.

As things are currently shaping up, runners may be the only prep athletes allowed to compete this fall.

But, September’s still a long way off, and much can change.

Either way, neither the coronavirus or Whidbey’s spotty summer weather have slowed down the harriers.

While Coupeville High School looks for a new cross country coach, CMS running guru Elizabeth Bitting is keeping Wolf runners of every age busy flying across the prairie.

In week two of summer work, which just ended, Coupeville had eight runners submit mileage reports, with the group ringing up 86.6 miles.

That gives the Wolves a combined total of 201.4 miles so far.

Things get a new twist starting this week, as Bitting and Co. launch a virtual four-race series.

The Wolf coach sends out a set route to her runners, who then compete on their own and submit their times.

The deadline for race one is Saturday, July 11, with the results announced the next day.

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Coupeville High School cross country coach Luke Samford, seen here with Catherine Lhamon, has moved to Kansas. (Helene Lhamon photo)

Add another job opening to the list.

Coupeville High School will need to hire two new head coaches before the fall sports season begins – if the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic allows athletics to restart.

Wolf boys soccer coach Kyle Nelson has already stepped down from his position, and now CHS cross country guru Luke Samford is making a similar move.

Samford, who is also an assistant track and field coach, confirmed he has moved to Kansas with wife Hayley.

The decision was based on their jobs, and the cost of living difference between the states.

A former NCAA D-I athlete, Samford coached college runners for seven years before moving to Whidbey Island.

In his one season at the helm of the recently-revived CHS harrier team, he radically increased the number of participants in the program, and helped guide Wolf junior Catherine Lhamon to the state meet.

After much success through the early ’90s, Coupeville shut down its cross country program and it went dormant for two decades.

While a handful of Wolf runners such as Tyler King and Danny Conlisk trained and traveled with other schools over the years, with King winning a state title in 2010, the sport didn’t fully return to the school until 2018.

Natasha Bamberger, who won a state cross country title for CHS in 1985, coached the Wolves in their first season back, then stepped aside to focus on her real-world job.

Now, after Samford’s departure, Lhamon and Co. will have their third head coach in as many years.

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Freshman cross country ace Mitchell Hall crushed the field and is the 2020 Coupeville Sports Athlete Supreme. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

He ran away with it.

It started as a three-way battle, then became a two-person rumble, before ending as a one-man show.

Freshman cross country ace Mitchell Hall saw his numbers surge big-time at about the halfway point of voting in the 100-hour endurance race that decides the annual Coupeville Sports Athlete Supreme, and emerges as the victor in the eighth go-round of the event.

With 2,867 votes, he captured 50.59% of the 5,667 votes cast, outdueling sophomore basketball star Hawthorne Wolfe, who finished with 1,630 votes.

Defending champ Mason Grove (357 votes) stayed close in the early going, before stepping back and accepting third-place as a senior.

Freshman Maddie Georges (185) and senior Tia Wurzrainer (111) rounded out the top five in a field of 25 CHS athletes.

While the top of the poll had no major movement at the end, Wurzrainer did shake things up, sliding into the top five in the waning moments.

 

The roll call of Athlete Supreme winners:

2013 – Nick Streubel
2014 – Amanda Fabrizi
2015 – CJ Smith
2016 – Hunter Smith
2017 – Joey Lippo
2018 – Ethan Spark
2019 – Mason Grove
2020 – Mitchell Hall

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Reiley Araceley was one of 15 CHS cross country runners to letter. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolves (l to r) Helen Strelow, Cristina McGrath, and Claire Mayne form the core of a young, very-promising team.

They ran to success.

Year two of the revived Coupeville High School cross country program came to an official close Wednesday night, as the Wolves and coach Luke Samford celebrated with an awards banquet.

Junior Catherine Lhamon, who made it to the state meet, and freshman Mitchell Hall, who just missed the cut, took home girls and boys MVP honors, respectively, while 15 runners exited with letters.

After lying largely dormant for two decades, with a few individual harriers training and traveling with other schools, CHS brought back its in-school cross country program in 2018.

That first season featured seven runners (five boys, two girls), with those numbers more than doubling in year two.

Coupeville loses just one senior, with Chris Ruck graduating, and should continue to add to its roster, as the middle school cross country program has even bigger numbers.

 

Varsity letter winners:

Aiden Anderson
Reiley Araceley
Cameron Epp
Mitchell Hall
Eli Kastner
Catherine Lhamon
Claire Mayne
Cristina McGrath
Alana Mihill
Chris Ruck
Helen Strelow
Alexander Wasik
Aidan Wilson
Tate Wyman
Sam Wynn

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