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Bainbridge cross country has strength in numbers
70 runners add depth to a squad with much potential.
Whatever Bainbridge cross country head coach Anne Howard-Lindquist is doing to get more people involved in running, it’s working.
This season, she and the other coaches welcomed 70 runners – 37 girls and 33 boys – to the team. It has meant splitting them up into three different training groups and making sure no one gets lost in the woods. But Howard-Lindquist is always happy to have new and old runners take part in cross country.
“It was a pretty positive experience for most people last year,” she said. “It’s a positive group. They have a lot of energy and they’re pretty focused.
“(But) if you asked the 70 kids why they’re out here, you would probably have 65 different answers,” Howard-Lindquist continued. “We have every (reason) from ‘this is my main sport,’ to just trying it out and see how strong I can get.”
Last year was a solid year for both cross country teams with Howard-Lindquist in charge. Both sides placed in the top six at the Metro tournament, but only Emily Farrar and Hayley Trageser made it to state through a tough district field.
From there, Farrar took fourth and Trageser took 19th.
This season, the Spartans lose the services of several runners, including Farrar (now a member of the cross-country team at Washington State) and Ian Shiach, Matt Tetlow, Molly O’Keefe and Max Welch.
But several runners who did well in the postseason are back to lower their times even further.
Chief among those are Trageser, a senior co-captain and junior co-captain Annie Taylor.
“She’s so consistent,” Howard-Lindquist said. “She’s constantly on that upward improvement. She’s definitely shooting high this season.”
Also in the mix are juniors Emily Barreca and Rebecca Sharar, freshman Isabel Ferguson, senior Kristin Cox, sophomores Lauren Abrams and Zoe Worthington.
On the boys’ side, senior co-captain and four-year varsity member Griffin Dunn will score points along with senior co-captain Ryan Vogel, senior Dan Thacker, freshman Deveraux Kessler, senior Gordon Taylor, sophomores John Murphy and Sean LaBelle (“They’re amazing,” Howard-Lindquist said), and juniors Robin Stewart, Grey Wilson, Tony Hall, Willy Wenzlau, Win McCurdy and Zach Morrow.
Howard-Lindquist gives credit to the four co-captains for putting together summer workouts and getting kids to run.
“Whereas in the past we’ve had 10 to 15 kids come out, this summer we’ve had 20 or 30,” she said. “So you know right away when you see that happening that there’s some really good energy” being generated.
Howard-Lindquist said she’s also excited to have many young and first-time runners out and about.
“We have a lot of freshman trying it out and hopefully most of them will say yeah, they’re good for three more years.”
She hopes that they can stick around and not get discouraged if things don’t go the way they want them to.
“We can see that with our sophomores and juniors that there’s so much improvement from one year to the next” she said. “Some of the best guys on the team who weren’t even near varsity last year are looking at making the varsity team.
“The kids that come out do tend to be hard workers,” Howard-Lindquist said. “We don’t get too many slackers when they figure out they have to race three miles, so they have to train for more than three miles.”
Though they’ll see plenty of competition from ranked teams like Lakeside, Seattle Prep, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Holy Names, Nathan Hale and Bishop Blanchet, Howard-Lindquist is confident about the team’s chances.
“It comes down to mental preparation and working hard for six weeks,” she said.
● A young, but large cross country squad navigates all sorts of terrain to send as many as possible to Pasco in November.
Thursday, Sept. 18 - vs. Bishop Blanchet, Ingraham, Franklin, Chief Sealth and West Seattle at Lower Woodland Park, 3:40 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 20 - at Salt Creek Invitational at Port Angeles HS, 9:45 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 27 - at Tomahawk Twilight Invitational at Marysville, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 1 - vs. Seattle Prep and Lakeside at Lower Woodland Park, 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 8 - vs. O’Dea, Holy Names and Nathan Hale at Battle Point Park, 3:40 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 11 - at Fort Worden Invitational at Port Townsend HS, time TBA
Thursday, Oct. 16 - vs. Seattle Prep, Rainier Beach, O’Dea, Holy Names, West Seattle and Ingraham at Lower Woodland Park, 3:40 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 23 - Metro Championships at Lower Woodland Park, time TBA
Thursday, Oct. 30 - 3A Sea-King District 2 championships at Lower Woodland Park, time TBA
Saturday, Nov. 8 - 3A state meet at Sun Willows GC in Pasco