Fall season off to running start for high school harriers

Runners returned to form in their first two meets of the new school year, with a feeling of normalcy in the air after two years of pandemic-affected seasons.

The annual fall cross country season got underway with runners returning to form in their first two meets of the new school year, with a feeling of normalcy in the air after two years of pandemic-affected seasons.

Pirate Harriers faced eight other teams on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Klahowya Secondary School, in Silverdale, with the boys’ team coming in third.

The teams were short of their usual numbers, due to the various infections coming with the start of the fall school calendar.

The Pirate runners were led by freshmen Emma Campbell and Bodie Thomas around the school’s campus, which included four trips through “Death Valley,” a short gulley of sand, roots and dead grass that challenged tired legs.

For six Pirates, this was their first cross-country race ever, with freshman Delilah Spence using her mantra of “I can do this” to get her through the 5k (3.1 miles) race.

The Pirates next traveled to the Ft. Steilacoom Invitational, on Saturday, Sept. 17, to race among 75 other high school teams, with Pirate captains Hank McSheehy and Madeline Yarkin leading the teams in the 5k races. The field of runners was so large the races had to be held over 17 heats around Fort Steilacoom Park just south of University Place.

This coming Saturday, Sept. 24, the Pirates will travel to Lake Samammish State Park to compete in the Bellevue Invitational, in another round of 17 heats involving 32 teams over the 5k course.

Vashon hosts its own league meets with seven teams on the home course the following week, with the high school teams competing Tuesday, Sept. 27, and the middle school teams competing on Thursday, Sept. 29, starting and finishing on the McMurray Middle School fields in the mid-afternoon. Results can be found on the Pirates website, athletic.net/team/360/cross-country/2022.

Bruce Cyra coaches cross-country for Vashon High School.