Blaine sophomore Eddie Fontes will accompany junior Kiersten Sigfusson on her third trip to the 2A state championship cross-country meet in Pasco this weekend.
The state meet will be a first for Fontes, who qualified for state along with Sigfusson at last weekend’s District 1 championships at South Whidbey High School. Fontes was the only Whatcom County boy to qualify as an individual outside of a cross-country team, Blaine cross-country head coach Carey Bacon said in a phone interview.
“Eddie basically couldn’t walk after that race,” Bacon said.
Fontes ran an even 17-minute race at South Whidbey to come in 20th, the cutoff spot for qualifying for state. Sigfusson came in 10th with a time of 20 minutes even.
Bacon said Sigfusson was one of the few runners to get a faster time at the district meet than at the league meet at Civic Stadium on October 21. Sigfusson has struggled to make the top 20 in most of this season’s races, which made her performance at South Whidbey’s challenging course all the more impressive, Bacon explained.
“[Sigfusson] ran the race of her life,” he said.
The two Borderites will see many familiar Northwest Conference faces at the state competition, including defending state champs Sehome High School. Sehome clinched a spot at what will be their fifth-straight state appearance with a first place finish at the district championships. Sehome senior Scott Carlyle defended his district title with a time of 16 minutes, 5 seconds.
At the state competition, Fontes and Sigfusson will have more to compete against than runners from other high schools. Bacon said the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, where the state championships will be held, is a deceptively challenging course.
The lack of big hills, replaced by slowly rolling ascents and descents, makes the course look slower than it actually is.
Though Fontes and Sigfusson will face a host of challenges this weekend, Bacon said he has high hopes for each runner. Fontes should be able to handle the pressure of his first-ever state championship appearance, and Sigfusson’s past two experiences at state will only help her chances, Bacon noted.
“I wouldn’t count Kiersten out because of the way she ran that race [on October 21],” he said.
The girls’ meet will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 6, at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, Washington, with the boys following at 1:30 p.m.