Harriers hold the home ground

Max Suffis edges out  Josha Nathan of Lakeside at the finish line. - ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo
Max Suffis edges out Josha Nathan of Lakeside at the finish line.
— image credit: ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo

It is a team sport run by individuals.

Fans and families saw the best of both at Thursday’s cross-country event at Battle Point Park, as the Bainbridge High School boys and girls prevailed in a four-way meet over visiting Lakeside, Seattle Prep and Cleveland High School.

On the girls’ side, junior Rachel Belt led from the gun and finished half a park ahead of the next runner, coming in at 18:44 over the three-mile course.

Drifting across in second place was Lakeside’s Eleanor Miller, significantly off Belt’s pace at 20:21.

Bainbridge runners Erica Bergman, Bea White and Megan Colkitt then went 3-4-5, each a second apart beginning with Bergman’s 20:35.

Those times, supported by the eighth-place finish of Amy Paeth (21:59), gave the Spartans a team win with 21 points in the low-score-wins competition.

Lakeside finished second with 39 team points, and Prep third with 61. Cleveland’s top runner came across in 55th place, and the team didn’t chart enough top finishers to earn a score.

In the boys’ event, a trio of runners from different schools stayed in a tight pack even onto the back leg of the course, at the park’s south boundary.

Lakeside’s Alex Chohlas-Wood pulled away to finish first at 15:48, followed by Prep’s James Sullien at 15:51.

But the next four finishes went to Spartan runners, led by Nolan Amy’s 16:05. Tim Freeman, Joe Tarbill and Jason Rowley came home in succession over the next 35 seconds.

But the meet turned on the legs of Spartan Max Suffis. The freshman nosed out a Lakeside runner for 15th place, after a dead sprint to the finish over the last 100 meters sent a sizzle through course onlookers and runners already finished.

“I always leave a little left over ‘til the end,” Suffis said.

The Spartans earned 33 team points for the win, followed by Lakeside (38), Prep (57) and Cleveland (103).

The meandering course began near the park’s roller hockey rink, taking runners west across the grounds and then north for several loops around the duck pond before following the trail at the park’s perimeter.

Belt said course conditions hurt times a bit, on an open ground buffeted by afternoon winds.

Belt was not necessarily aware of the wide lead she had opened up over the field.

“Everyone lies to you while you’re running – ‘Oh, she’s only five feet behind you!’” she said.

The Spartans travel to Lower Woodland Park on Sept. 27 for a five-way meet with O’Dea, Holy Names, Ingraham and Seattle Prep.

Their final home meet of the season begins at 3:40 p.m. Oct. 2 at Battle Point, against Eastside, O’Dea, Holy Names and Blanchet.

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