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Youth infusion for Mount Si cross country squad
Mount Si’s cross country program appears to be feeling the influence of growth in running sports in the Valley.
That influence is being seen in several ways, including a large turnout of freshmen athletes.
“We’re feeling a lot of the benefit of having cross country programs in the middle schools,” said coach Christine Kjenner, a longtime Mount Si math teacher in her eighth season with the team.
Snoqualmie Valley HUB running programs and annual Run Snoqualmie races are making an impact. Kjenner offered special praise to local race promoter Sean Sundwall, who organized the Aug. 21 Snoqualmie Days run.
The large group of freshmen on both the boys and girls teams will have some solid experience to look up to, as the team returns some excellent runners. Leading the way on the boys’ side are senior Michael Blackmon and junior Richard Carmichael.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces out here,” said Carmichael, who is excited about what lies ahead. “I think we’ll do well this year.”
On the girls’ side, junior Kendall Maddux will look to fill the shoes of graduate Alex Rudd, who is running this fall for Southern Oregon University. The girls did well last season.
“This year, hopefully, we get that or better,” Maddux said.
For both Maddux and Carmichael, being among the top upperclassmen on a freshman-laden team means they will have to show leadership.
“I’ve just got to go out there and show the young guys how to act—be a model citizen out there, just show them how to pace themselves,” Carmichael said.
Kjenner is expecting big things from the Lady Wildcats.
“Our girls have a good shot at going to district,” she said. Faces to watch include freshman Abby Bottemiller and sophomore Ashley Jackson.
The boys, on the other hand, have some work to do, but Kjenner is also hoping for some good results.
“The boys need to all come through,” Kjenner said. “I think there’s the potential for the boys to be there if they can pull each other up, so we have a strong seven.”
With respect to the league, she looks for Bellevue and Mercer Island to have the best chances to win that title this season.
Mount Si has two home meets this season, one on Wednesday, Sept. 15 and the other in October. These meets will be held on a course which encompasses areas on and near the Snoqualmie Elementary School campus.