Early in the season, the Bainbridge Spartan boys and girls cross country teams look like squads to beat in the Olympic League.
Both won the huge Sehmel Homestead meet. Also, the boys were fourth at the 1A-4A division at Ultimook, while the girls were seventh.
The boys are headlined by senior Abe Cole, junior Brodie Strom, and sophomore Marcus Stroman. Strom, one of Bainbridge’s captains, has been the anchor for the Spartans, finishing first and 19th, respectively, at those two big meets.
The Spartan girls have tons of depth. Eight girls have placed as Bainbridge’s top five girls in the two races, but the two who shined the brightest were sophomore Cara Brundige and senior Mayzie Carleton. Brundige finished 27th at Ultimook while Carleton finished 38th.
Bremerton’s Knights have competed in the Olympic League Jamboree and the 44th Salt Creek Invitational, placing ninth there.
The Knights have two runners for each team. Senior Enzo Alonso Fernandez and sophomore Dallin Anderson headline the boys side after finishing ninth and 10th at Salt Creek.
Sophomores Saleen Mattivi and Ruby Hyde finished fifth and sixth at the jamboree and seventh and 16th at Salt Creek.
Central Kitsap’s boys finished fourth at Sehmel and sixth at the Fort Steilacoom Invitational.
The CK trio of juniors Jackson Moyer and Blake Reynolds and sophomore Michael Vlach have finished in the upper half of both competitions, finishing as high as 11th and as low as 46th.
CK’s girls are competing with Bainbridge for the best team in Kitsap County. The only difference is the Cougars are a much younger team.
The Cougars are led by junior Camryn Bishoff, sophomores Clare Herring and Taylor Palmer, and freshman Audra Palmer. The lowest any of them has finished is 16th place this season. They won at Steilacoom and split a first and second with Bainbridge at Sehmel.
Kingston’s teams are taking separate paths. The boys have a strong core, led by senior Kaeden Peterson and junior Lucas Lenz. Lenz finished second at the Olympic League Jamboree and at Salt Creek while Peterson finished sixth and seventh.
In the two races, four of the top five runners for the Buc girls have been freshmen or sophomores. Their key runner, junior Alice Moe, is Kingston’s only upperclassmen runner placing in races. Moe finished 11th at the jamboree and 10th at Salt Creek.
Klahowya is tough to measure. In the 1A division, Klahowya seems to be a top team for boys and girls. However, the boys team struggled at Salt Creek against bigger schools, finishing seventh out of 12 teams.
Senior Shane Porter and junior Tyler Larson finished seventh and ninth in the Nisqually League Meet. Yet, the two finished 31st and 33rd at Salt Creek. In addition, Porter was the first Klahowya runner to cross the finish line at the Bellarmine Invite, finishing 74th.
The Eagles girls team has one of the best young girl runners in the county this season. Sophomore Natalie Oathout finished second at the Nisqually League Meet and at Salt Creek. Plus, Oathout finished 27th out of 111 at the Bellarmine Invite.
Junior Alsion Fletcher has been Klahowya’s other top girl runner, finishing fourth in the league meet and 20th at Salt Creek.
North Kitsap’s teams have one runner on each side placing consistently in the top 10. Juniors Quinny Stewart and Salix Wartes-Kahl shine as the top runner for each team. Stewart finished fifth and sixth at the Vikings’ two races while Wartes-Kahl finished first and third.
The girls team also has depth, finishing third at Salt Creek.
Olympic’s boys finished fifth at Salt Creek as senior Miles Cole finished 13th and sophomore Samuel Bonsell 20th.
For the Trojan girls, freshman Sophia MacDonald finished 22nd at Salt Creek, where her team placed eighth. And sophomore Cassia Whittier finished 24th at the Olympic League Jamboree.
South Kitsap’s boys team finished second against Sumner and Puyallup and fourth at the PLU Invite. The girls finished first against Sumner and Puyallup and fifth at the PLU Invite.
South Kitsap possibly has the best freshmen and sophomore runners in the county. Freshman Isaac Benjamin finished first in the Sumner and Puyallup meet and in the freshman division at the Olympia Invite, which had 111 racers. Sophomore Jefferson Smith finished third in the Sumner and Puyallup meet, ninth at the PLU Invite and first in the Olympia Invite sophomore division, which had 123 runners.
SK’s girls team is led by sophomore Lauren Laws, who finished second at the Sumner and Puyallup meet, ninth at the PLU Invite, and third in the sophomore division at the Olympia Invite, which had 67 runners.