Last year, Kiersten Sigfusson and Tom Bradley both finished 24th at the 2A state cross-country meet last year.
In 2010, Sigfusson remains but someone else will have to lead the Borderites’ boys team.
Bradley has elected to not participate in school cross-country, choosing instead to train with Joel Pearson and only run in open events.
The loss leaves a huge hole to fill but Blaine cross-country coach Carey Bacon sees candidates on the horizon in sophomore Eddie Fontes and senior Perry Olason.
“They should be competitive,” said Bacon. “Eddie has done some serious training and should be much improved.”
Besides Sigfusson on the girls side, Bacon noted that senior Cassidy Hill put in lots of off season work and will be better as well.
However, improvement for the Borderites may not translate into immediate meet victories. Sehome, Burlington-Edison, Squalicum and Bellingham all loom, not only as strong Northwest conference (NWC), but also as challengers for the state title.
“This is the best league and district in the state, by far,” explained Bacon in his 12th year as head coach, “so competition among all the teams is at a very high level. I see no reason that a team from our district will not have a great chance to win state again for both boys and girls.”
Bacon doesn’t necessarily expect to win any team titles this year, but believes that Sigfusson has a legitimate shot at her third consecutive trip to state; however he cautions that she may not have gotten in as much work as her competitors.
“It doesn’t look like she put in a lot of miles,” Bacon said of the long-striding Sigfusson, “so she’s starting out behind some of the top runners in our league and district.” Bacon noted that Fontes could be a long shot to make state this year as well.
Sigfusson holds consecutive titles as part of Blaine’s 4x200m relay team the last two years and holds the distinction of being the only Whatcom County sprinter to beat Borderite speedster Cherish Morrison, which she did in a 400m sprint last year.