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Coupeville junior Catherine Lhamon got faster as the cross country season progressed, running her best time Saturday at the 1A state meet. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lhamon and Wolf coach Luke Samford celebrate in Pasco. (Helene Lhamon photo)

Her junior season ended much better than her sophomore campaign.

A year ago, Coupeville’s Catherine Lhamon was the top female runner for a reborn Coupeville High School cross country program.

Peaking at just the right time, she was running wild on the trails, until late-season leg injuries sent her to the sidelines, unable to run in the postseason.

Jump forward a year, and the Wolf harrier program has exploded in the number of athletes participating, with Lhamon back at the front of the pack.

This time, she avoided injuries, allowing her fleet feet to carry her all the way to Pasco, where she ran in the 1A state meet Saturday.

And not only did Lhamon break from the line at the big dance, but she also finished with a bang.

Passing runners down the backstretch, the Wolf junior recorded a season-best time, and the second-fastest mark she’s ever had in a 5,000 meter race.

Her time of 21 minutes, 44.70 seconds was 18.5 seconds faster than her previous top mark this season, and placed her 92nd in a field of 149 runners.

Lhamon was the only CHS athlete to qualify for state this fall, in any sport, and becomes just the third Wolf, and only female, to make it to high school cross country’s biggest race this decade.

She joins Danny Conlisk, who ran at Pasco in 2017, and Tyler King, who won the 1A state title in 2010.

King trained and traveled with Oak Harbor, Conlisk with South Whidbey, as Coupeville’s own cross country program lay dormant for two decades.

It returned in 2018, led by Lhamon, Conlisk and coach Natasha Bamberger, who won the 1985 state title while attending CHS.

Work commitments led to Bamberger stepping away from the program before this season, and she was replaced by college coach Luke Samford.

Coupeville jumped from two girls in 2018 to five this year, while the boys drew a double-digit turnout in year two.

The increased numbers allowed the Wolves to compete in the team standings at meets this season, another huge step as the program rebuilds.

A prime example of what CHS would like to be sits just up the road in Langley, where South Whidbey has a cross country program which sits in the WIAA Hall of Fame.

Saturday, the Falcons sent both boys and girls teams to Pasco, claiming fourth and eighth in the team standings, respectively.

The top individual finisher for South Whidbey was junior Kaia Swegler Richmond, who claimed 6th place.

The 1A girls race got super-dramatic, as defending state champ Naomi Smith of King’s and top contender Alaina Stone of Colville dueled, separated by a single second at the two-mile mark.

Smith, who is one of the fastest high school harriers in the nation, suffered a late fall, however, allowing Stone to run away with a title in the final prep match-up between the speedy seniors.

Adam Briejer of Charles Wright Academy won the boys race, with the Deer Park girls and Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) boys claiming team titles.

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Mitchell Hall flies into action. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Cristina McGrath

Aiden Anderson

Claire Mayne

Eli Kastner

Alana Mihill

It’s a photo dump before the big meet.

This Saturday, Coupeville High School junior Catherine Lhamon runs at the 1A state cross country meet in Pasco, putting a final stamp on the harrier season.

Before we get there, it’s time for me to let free the photos I hadn’t yet used, so that they might frolic down the trail.

It’s one action pic and five portraits, with all of them now going live on the internet for your viewing pleasure.

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CHS freshman Claire Mayne rumbles down the trail at the district meet Saturday in Langley. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Aidan Wilson motors along.

Coupeville coach Luke Samford imparts some pre-race wisdom.

Alana Mihill is in the zone.

Mitchell Hall can hear the footsteps behind him, but there’s no way he’s letting anyone pass him.

The Wolf girls anticipate the starter’s gun.

Sam Wynn leads a pack on the homeward stretch.

And they’re off.

Everyone got to stretch their legs.

The Coupeville High School cross country squad ran as a team in competition for the final time Saturday, at the District 1 meet in Langley.

With Oak Harbor and South Whidbey also running on the same day, with the Wildcats in the 3A race and the Falcons joining the Wolves in the 1A rumble, that got photo whiz kid John Fisken to make the trek down Island, as well.

The photos above capture Coupeville harriers in action, but are just the tip of what he shot.

To see everything Fisken snapped, and maybe buy some glossies for Gram and Gramps, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Cross-Country-2019-2020/XC-2019-11-02-District-Meet/

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Coupeville’s Catherine Lhamon is off to the state cross country meet next weekend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Catherine Lhamon’s fleet feet are carrying her to Pasco.

The Coupeville High School junior qualified for the 1A state cross country meet with her performance Saturday at the District 1 meet.

Running at South Whidbey High School, Lhamon claimed 31st place with a season-best time on the 5,000 meter course, making the cut for state by four slots.

Wolf freshman Mitchell Hall just missed out on joining her, falling six places shy of qualifying.

Lhamon, who’s the first Wolf harrier to make it to the big dance since Danny Conlisk in 2017, will run Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Sun Willows Golf Course.

Conlisk trained and traveled with South Whidbey, as Coupeville’s once very-successful cross country program lay dormant for two decades.

It was revived in 2018, and the number of runners has tripled in season two.

To make the cut for state, Lhamon listened to Wolf coach Luke Samford, who laid out a plan in which she would surge down the stretch.

“She ran exactly like coach told her to,” said mom Helene Lhamon. “She was 50th or so at the mile and I thought she was hopelessly off pace – but she passed 20 people in the next 1.5 miles.

“I was counting runners, not expecting her yet, when she flew by – and I went running after her with my cowbell cheering — she held in there for the last half mile – and no injuries!!!!”

Coupeville finished 12th in the girls standings and 14th in the boys race.

King’s girls and South Whidbey’s boys won the team crowns, while Naomi Smith of King’s and Isaac Cortes of Granite Falls captured individual titles.

The outlook is bright for the Wolves, as all 12 runners who competed at districts are underclassmen, with two juniors, one sophomore, and nine freshmen on the roster.

 

Complete Saturday results:

GIRLS:

Catherine Lhamon (31st) 22:02.96
Claire Mayne (57th) 23:36.42
Alana Mihill (60th) 23:49.67
Helen Strelow (74th) 24:59.77
Cristina McGrath (80th) 25:51.43

BOYS:

Mitchell Hall (34th) 18:27.08
Aidan Wilson (69th) 19:50.24
Sam Wynn (81st) 20:33.95
Cameron Epp (85th) 20:44.12
Reiley Araceley (89th) 21:00.39
Alexander Wasik (96th) 21:38.96
Aiden Anderson (98th) 21:50.99

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Cristina McGrath is in the zone at the North Sound Conference Cross Country Championships. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Eli Kastner goes about his work with a smile.

Claire Mayne comes pounding down the backstretch, shadowed by teammate Alana Mihill.

The Wolf boys break from the line.

Aidan Wilson is in a hurry to get where he’s going.

Mihill charges for the finish line.

Sam Wynn gets the hair bouncing as he strides across the grass.

Coupeville’s girls attack as a pack.

The trail is never-ending, and so are the photos.

As the Coupeville High School cross country squad winds its way through the final weeks of the season, Lakewood was the destination this past Saturday, with the league title on the line.

Popping up, camera at the ready, was John Fisken, who wandered off of Whidbey for the day in search of photo ops.

The pics above are courtesy him, but are just the start of what he shot.

To see everything, and maybe purchase some glossies for grandma, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Cross-Country-2019-2020/XC-2019-10-26-League-Meet/

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