Sports

Mount Si cross country gets set for a new season Major theme is runner improvement

Alex Rudd, a junior, returns this season to lead the Wildcat squad. Rudd barely missed a top-20-in-state finish in Pasco last season.  -
Alex Rudd, a junior, returns this season to lead the Wildcat squad. Rudd barely missed a top-20-in-state finish in Pasco last season.
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The Mount Si High School cross country program looks ready to shine in a newly realigned Kingco 3A Conference.

The Wildcats are coached once again this year by Christine Kjenner, who is in her second season as head coach. Kjenner is looking forward to the season.

“I think our biggest concern is to keep everybody healthy throughout the season,” she said. “Our girls team looks really strong with a lot of returners.”

That returning group is led by junior Alex Rudd, who finished just a second shy of a top-20 finish at last season’s state meet in Pasco. Rudd looks to improve on that in 2008.

“My goal is to go back to state again and hopefully get a top-20 finish this year,” she said.

Sophomore Dannah Parsons is also a top returner for the girls, and she is looking to improve. “I’m hoping to do a lot better than I did last year,” Parsons said.

There are three seniors on the girls squad this season: Wendy Hecker, Elizabeth Kayangui and Kayla Supkoff. The freshman class is led by Kendall Maddux. All are newcomers in 2008.

Both Rudd and Parsons had good preparation for the upcoming season in early August, as they both competed in the Snoqualmie Railroad Days 5k run. Rudd and Parsons both had solid finishes in the race. Rudd says competing in that event helps her get ready for the high school season ahead.

“Any community 5k, 10k race, I like to do them because it just gives me an extra race,” Rudd said. “It helps me practice, not only pace and timing, because I was obviously slower during the summer than in season when I’m in tip-top shape, but just the mindset of racing and being around people, passing people.”

For Parsons, this was her first non-school race, and it was also an easy way for her to get the high school campaign off to a good start.

“I liked it because it was just in Snoqualmie,” she said. “I live in North Bend, so it wasn’t very far away. I want to get faster and also race more competitive people.” The sophomore told the Valley Record she will look to do more of these types of events next year, so fans will be hearing a lot more about her in the months to come on the local running scene.

The boys also have a solid core returning, but they have some big shoes to fill. Juniors Max McDevitt and Zac Pearlstein, along with sophomore Brett Duncan, will attempt to fill the void left by seniors Drake da Ponte and Owen Strom, both of whom enjoyed great success within the cross-country program.

“It should be a decent season,” an excited McDevitt said. “I’d say the three of us have a good shot at district and possibly state.”

There are three freshmen new to the program this year: Richard Carmichael, Landon Storrud and Ben Houldridge.

The big theme with the program continues to be runners’ improvement during the season.

“That’s my biggest concern,” said Kjenner. “I like to see athletes improve week to week (and) meet their goals by the end of the season. Cross country’s unique in that we can take students at all ability levels, and they all compete and have an opportunity to feel successful.”

Of the five meets this season, one is at home, and the Wildcat coach talked about the Mount Si course.

“The home course utilizes the former softball field, the JV softball field and Snoqualmie Elementary School, and it’s three laps,” she said. “We’d like to change it up a little bit but haven’t found the right place to do that yet. It’s fast and it’s great for spectators to watch.”

Teams to watch include Liberty, Bellevue and Mercer Island in 3A, and within 4A divisional competition, as Mount Si competes in a mixed 3A/4A division in league action, Eastlake looks to be the favorite.

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