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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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   Danny Conlisk poses by the rock in front of the CHS gym before heading out to the state cross country meet. (Dawnelle Conlisk photos)

   Conlisk hangs out in Pasco with South Whidbey training partners Michael Cepowski (left) and Callahan Yale.

Conlisk and his cold, but proud, mom.

He ran for his school.

He ran for his family and friends.

And, ultimately, he ran in a vain bid to get warm.

The first Coupeville High School cross country runner to compete at the 1A state meet since 2010, Wolf junior Danny Conlisk braved the icy weather in Pasco Saturday, finishing 124th in a field of 156 runners.

He covered 5,000 frigid meters at the Sun Willows Golf Course in 18:06.9.

Kenneth Rooks of College Place capped a stellar career with his second title in three years, hitting the tape in 15:18.

Rooks also won a title at the 1B/2B level as a sophomore, then placed fourth in 1A last season.

Coupeville, which boasts two state title winners (Tyler King in 2010 and Natasha Bamberger in 1985) doesn’t have an active harrier program of its own.

Because of that, Conlisk and his fellow Wolf runners — brothers Henry and Sam Wynn — trained and traveled with South Whidbey this year.

Two of Conlisk’s Falcon buddies, Michael Cepowski and Callahan Yale, also made it to state, finishing 46th and 133rd, respectively.

Medical Lake captured the 1A boys team title, while Klahowya, the only Olympic League school to qualify its entire squad, finished 11th out of 16 teams.

On the girls side, South Whidbey placed 10th out of 16 teams during Saturday’s race.

Freshman Kaia Swegler Richmond was the top Falcon, finishing 14th out of 152 runners.

Conlisk, who became a running convert in recent years, is now a three-time state meet vet, having already punched his ticket in track and field as both a freshman and sophomore.

And, in a neat little twist, the number he wore during Saturday’s meet (#212) matches his birthday, Feb. 12.

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Christine Fields (John Fisken photos)

Christine Fields fine-tunes her short game. (John Fisken photos)

Fear the Lone Wolf.

Fear the Lone Wolf.

Christine Fields knows the way to the big time. She’s been there before.

The Coupeville High School senior will trek to Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco May 27-28 to cap her stellar high school golf career, marking her fourth consecutive appearance at the state tourney.

Fields, who finished fifth in 1A as a junior, will be riding a hot streak after torching the field Tuesday at districts.

Carding an 84 at Bremerton’s Gold Mountain Golf Club, she claimed her second title in a row, following her romp through the Olympic League Championships last week.

In winning the District 3 tourney, she out-dueled 14 other contenders from Klahowya, Cascade Christian, Seattle Christian, Charles Wright Academy and Bellevue Christian.

Now, after playing in Dupont as a freshman and Lake Spanaway the last two seasons, she’ll hit up Pasco in one final bid for state glory.

In her three previous trips Fields has claimed 8th, 15th and 5th.

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