Running through the rain at Seattle’s Woodland Park Thursday, Oct. 19 junior Sebastian Belkin took first place at the 16-team Metro League Cross Country Championship meet, winning the first league championship for Bainbridge Cross Country since Nolan Amy’s victory in 2003.
Taking charge in the hilly second mile of the 5K course, Belkin moved up from 17th place at the end of the first mile to finish in 15:55.55, two seconds ahead of O’Dea senior Isaac Mohn.
On a flatter course two weeks earlier, Belkin had run 15:35.7 to set a new Bainbridge cross country 5K record, decisively surpassing Ryan Cox’s previous best mark of 15:46.8 (2015).
Last Thursday, Belkin became the fastest Bainbridge runner ever on the challenging Woodland Park course, beating Amy’s 2003 15:57.
The boys varsity team advanced to the state-qualifying district meet, to be held at Lake Sammamish on Saturday, Oct. 28, by taking fifth place, as Belkin’s win was backed up by juniors Carlo Ruggiero, Nathan McVay, Sean Lindsey and Elliott Windrope (the latter two setting personal records), together with outstanding races from seniors Ben Cibula and Jason Weiss.
Although the highly competitive SeaKing District includes four of the top 10 3A teams in the state, BHS Head Coach Anne Howard Lindquist said she is cautiously optimistic about her youthful team’s chances of making it to state this year, in part because of junior Carter Hall. The Spartans’ No. 2 runner was held out of the league meet due to slight injury, but should be ready to race Saturday, she said.
Meanwhile, the BHS girls varsity team, led by seniors Anna Scott (17th place, 20:00) and Adalynn Griesser (31st, 20:41), also made it through to the district meet.
Despite losing junior Liz Messinger to a severe ankle sprain on the muddy hill, the Spartan squad took the last qualifying spot, just one point behind 17th-place finisher Lakeside, thanks to the determined efforts of Natalie Taylor, Emma Brundige, Lydia Goss and Kari Perry.
Beyond the two varsity races, 51 boys and 24 girls competed well in five junior varsity races, setting a number of personal records despite the difficult course and conditions.
Finishers notching their best times ever included David Baker, Micah Glasby, Jack Kasper, Adam McKinnon, Sam Morris, Tanner Nalley, Martin Vroom, Eleanor Collins, and Brooke Troyer.
Coaches were especially impressed by the personal records set by veteran seniors Sean Williams, Emily Feeney, Spencer Fleming and Lauren Wallach, according to team officials.