Two harriers off and running to state

Signe Lindquist (left) and Isabel Ferguson head to Pasco Saturday for the 3A state cross country meet. The 3A girls race starts at 12:30 p.m. - Brad Camp/for the Review
Signe Lindquist (left) and Isabel Ferguson head to Pasco Saturday for the 3A state cross country meet. The 3A girls race starts at 12:30 p.m.
— image credit: Brad Camp/for the Review

This year, the trip to the 3A state cross-country meet won’t be as crowded as head coach Anne Howard Lindquist would like, but she’s glad to take someone with her to the big one Saturday in Pasco at the Sun Willows Golf Course.

Freshman Signe Lindquist – Anne’s oldest child – qualified with her fourth-place finish of 20:02 at last week’s Sea-King district meet at Lower Woodland.

Junior co-captain Isabel Ferguson is accompanying her thanks to her 16th-place finish of 20:27.

While Ferguson was one of the favorites to make it to state, almost no one saw Signe making it this far.

“At the early part of the season I thought she was going to be at the tail end of varsity,” assistant coach Mike Shiach said. “But she really surprised me by being near the front. At the district championships I looked up and there she was coming in fourth – I did a double take. Freshman aren’t supposed to do that. It happens occasionally but it’s really rare.”

Signe said she didn’t expect it either.

“The first lap felt fast, so I was just focused on beating my last time at Metros,” she said. “I just felt better as it went on.”

Ferguson said she felt Signe would make it.

“She’s a really good athlete,” she said. “She’s trained really hard this year.”

Anne has enjoyed watching her daughter succeed this season, but she said she doesn’t try to treat Signe different from the other runners on the squad.

“I just think of it as she’s just another member of the team,” she said. “I have a little more influence on helping her get to bed a little earlier than the other girls – or trying to – but she’s just another team member. It’s really nice to see her have fun with the other team members.”

Signe said she’s never had any problems with her mom as head coach.

“Everyone asks, ‘Is your mom forcing you to run cross country?’” she said. “I’ve had to answer that question a few times. (But) there’s so many other coaches (at practice) so I barely see or talk to her.”

Anne and Shiach credit Signe’s natural love of running and her work with Bainbridge Blazers, the middle school program, that’s helped her get ready to be a competitive runner in high school. Anne also felt that running with other teammates has been beneficial as well.

“It’s a lot more fun to run with other people than it is to run by yourself,” she said. “Until they get with a real team and pull it all together then they can see what they can do individually and as a team.”

Another key has been the leadership of Ferguson as a co-captain. Both coaches feel she’s done well in handling the responsibilities of being a captain.

“She’s really improved,” Lindquist said. “She’s been put into the position of the fastest runner, and as a junior you might want a senior ahead of you but she’s done very well at pulling our team along and setting our expectations high. She has very high training standards.”

Ferguson said she learned from last year’s captains in Annie Taylor and Emily Barreca on how to handle the responsibilities as captain.

“I like stepping up into the role,” she said. “It was fun. I definitely felt there was a little more pressure as team captain, but I like it. It’s fun to get to know the other girls and with our new talent it’ll push everyone.”

Though it will be a tough field at state, the two runners are experienced thanks to running in a tough district.

Ferguson said her goal is simple.

“Last year I was 54th, so this year I’d like to get under 50,” she said.

Signe said her goal is even simpler.

“I just want to run and have fun,” she said.

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