The Mount Si cross country team opened up their new course at South Fork Landing by placing second in the girls race and first in the boys varsity race on Oct. 9.
The Wildcats hosted four other league opponents, Bothell, Issaquah, North Creek and Woodinville, for the first race on the new course. Head coach Sean Sundwall said the new location will allow them to host more meets than they previously could at Mount Si golf course, their old course.
“We love (the course),” Sundwall said. “Mount Si golf course is great, but this is more doable for us in the long run. We have the opportunity to host some even larger meets here, given that we don’t have to push off tee times.”
In the boys race, junior Paul Talens placed first (16:03.2), and senior Austin Gappa finished third (16:07.8). Sundwall said Talens and Gappa have both been consistent for the team all season, but he was pleased with the race from his third-eighth runners.
Sophomore Ravenna Vaden led the way for the Wildcats in the girls race, finishing fourth and setting a new personal record with a time of 20:08.1.
“The girls ran like a pack for the first time, which bodes well for us in the postseason,” Sundwall said. “Vaden has been our most consistent runner. Just like the boys side, that second-pack of girls was really excelled today, and I’m excited to see what that does for us at KingCo (championships on Nov. 2).”
The Wildcats didn’t have time to rest after the meet because they competed again that weekend at the 36th annual Hole in the Wall Invitational on Oct. 12 in Lakewood. Though the Hole in the Wall Invitational is one of the biggest meets of the cross country season, the Wildcats weren’t going to take it easy at their home meet. Sundwall said there is no point in trying to tell runners to save themselves during a meet, especially when they’re going up against league opponents.
“I have learned from my eight years of coaching that there is no such thing as putting an athlete on a course and having them save themselves,” Sundwall said. “When they get to the front line and the gun goes off, they just want to compete. If I want them to save themselves, I won’t run them.”
At the Hole in the Wall Invitational, the Wildcats raced against teams from Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska and British Colombia, Canada. The top two finishers for the Wildcats in the boys race were Talens (16:07.7) who finished 43rd, and Gappa (16:09.5) who finished 46th. The Wildcats finished 12th in the boys varsity race as a team. In the girls race, Vaden (20:13.2) finished 146th, and sophomore Makaylee Jensen (20:40.1) set a new personal record and finished 178th. Mount Si finished 38th as a team in the girls varsity race.