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Claire Mayne pounds across the grass Wednesday at the middle school cross country championships. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Coupeville boys attack as a pack.

Hank Milnes is so fast, his feet don’t even touch the ground.

The Wolf girls brace for the sound of the starter’s pistol.

Carolyn Lhamon zings across the fresh grass.

Cole White ambles on home.

From nothing, they built something. The first CMS cross country squad in 20+ years.

They are the trailblazers.

The 15 young men and women in Coupeville Middle School cross country jerseys who ran Wednesday in the league championships at Langley may not fully realize what they have accomplished.

But, as time passes, as the CMS program continues to grow and rebuild, these Wolves, the ones who ran their hearts out all season, will be remembered.

They are the ones who brought cross country back to their school after a 20+ year absence.

The ones who stepped up and said “Me, I will go,” when Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith asked to see shoes at the starting line.

The harriers, many new to the sport, who trained every day, who blossomed under the tutelage of coach Elizabeth Bitting, a cross country champion given the chance to live out her second dream as a coach in the sport.

They are the start, they are the dream realized, and, one day, when they have children of their own, they will look back on the fall of 2018 and proudly say, “I did it. You can do it. One foot in front of the other, never stop running, and never stop believing in yourself.”

 

To see everything John Fisken shot Wednesday in Langley, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Cross-Country-2018-2019/MSXC-2018-10-17-at-South-Whidbey/

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Cole White, here with Coupeville Middle School cross country coach Elizabeth Bitting, finished 9th Wednesday at the league championships. (Photo by Morgan White)

They saved their best for the final lap.

Competing at the league championships Wednesday, the Coupeville Middle School cross country squad compiled 12 PR’s and capped an impressive return to the sport.

CMS, which hasn’t fielded a harrier program in 20+ years, finished 3rd in the girls team standings and 5th in the boys. Host Langley won both titles.

“I can not say enough about how proud I am of these athletes,” said Wolf coach Elizabeth Bitting. “To hear them strategize, to see them get pumped and ready, to see them cheering for their teammates as well as other runners, was beyond anything I ever imagined!

“What a truly fabulous season!!”

Coupeville’s return to competition started and ended on the same course at South Whidbey High School, and seeing how her runners had progressed in their first season was a true joy for their coach.

“Not only did 12 of 15 runners PR, but they blew their first times out of the water!,” Bitting said.

Three Wolves — Allison Nastali, Helen Strelow and Hayden Harry — paced the pack, each dropping their best time by between one minute, 29 seconds and 1:32.

“Look at those improvements! 1:30 is HUMONGOUS in running! WOWZA!!,” Bitting said.

“If only we could have extended the season a few weeks longer!,” she added. “They worked hard. They were strong! They finished tired! Already looking forward to the next cross country season! So proud! Super proud!”

 

Complete Tuesday results – 1.7 mile course:

 

GIRLS:

Carolyn Lhamon (9th)12:41.09
Claire Mayne (11th)12:45.78
Helen Strelow (19th)13:09.81
Allison Nastali (27th)14:35.08
Sam McMahon (29th)14:51.38
Erica McGrath (31st)15:07.69
Cristina McGrath (32nd)15:17.97

 

BOYS:

Cole White (9th) 11:30.95
Hank Milnes (17th)11:58.94
Aiden Anderson (21st)12:10.71
Tate Wyman (29th)12:37.28
Justin Wilkinson (37th)12:56.19
Hayden Harry (38th)12:56.61
Andrew Williams (53rd) 14:08.28
Alex Clark (65th) 15:20.95

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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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Cristina McGrath (left) and Sam McMahon have helped lead the revival of Coupeville Middle School cross country. (Morgan White photo)

It took two decades to happen, so Elizabeth Bitting wants to enjoy every moment.

As the first Coupeville Middle School cross country season in 20+ years plays out, the Wolf coach has taught her young runners to embrace the moment, while building for the future.

Tuesday, the Wolves ran in their final regular-season meet down in the wilds of Sultan, and their effort continues to impress their mentor.

“Both boys and girls ran admirably!,” Bitting said. “Some had their eyes set on their competition and ran accordingly.

“I am very proud of the runner’s performances today,” she added. “They put their whole hearts into their races and ALWAYS have a good time!”

CMS wraps up its revival season Oct. 17 at the league meet, which will be held at South Whidbey High School. That will feature Granite Falls, King’s, Langley, Northshore Christian, Sultan, Lakewood and Coupeville.

“Next up are the championships!,” Bitting said “They gotta leave everything on the field next Wednesday!!”

 

Complete Tuesday results – 1.7 mile course:

 

GIRLS:

Carolyn Lhamon 12:17
Claire Mayne 12:29
Helen Strelow 12:59
Erica McGrath 14:10
Cristina McGrath 14:34
Sam McMahon 14:45
Allison Nastali 14:46

 

BOYS:

Cole White 11:09
Hank Milnes 11:48
Aiden Anderson 12:00
Tate Wyman 12:34
Justin Wilkinson 13:14
Hayden Harry 13:25
Andrew Williams 13:53
Alex Clark 15:13

 

PS — If you’re wondering why a Tuesday race is just now hitting the internet on Thursday, it’s because we’ve been waiting almost 48 hours for meet officials to post times on athletic.net. Things move slowly in Sultan…

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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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