THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
SILVER LAKE - This time, Bronwyn Crossman knew all about who was running with her at the front of the pack during the 31st Mount Baker Invite.
The Squalicum junior raced to an easy victory on Saturday at Silver Lake Park and avenged last year's second-place finish. Crossman's time of 17 minutes, 39.62 seconds is the fastest since Sehome's Susannah Shaw set the 5K course record of 17:27 in 2002.
"She really was not happy when the Canadian girl (Chantell Groenwoud) beat her last year," Squalicum coach Tim Irvin said of Crossman. "When Canadians are involved, you never know what to expect. They could be from clubs, schools, whatever. Last year, Bronwyn ran by me and had this look that said 'What is going on?'"
Groenwoud, of North Shore High School in Vancouver, B.C., edged Crossman by six seconds last year. On Saturday, Crossman took the lead away from her on the first lap and never looked back, beating Groenwoud by 26 seconds.
"I wasn't sure if the Canadian girls were going to be back, but we were up front leading," Crossman said. "I ran with them for a while, but then I made a move to see if they would go with me."
Crossman ran without teammate and friend Emily Schick, the Storm's No. 2 runner. Schick missed the meet because she was on an official recruiting visit at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
"It's so much harder without Emily," Crossman said. "She helps me and pushes me during races. Oh, my gosh, we're tied together."
Schick's absence gave the Storm, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, a peek at what next season might be like. She and No. 6 runner Svete Belaya are Squalicum's only seniors.
Squalicum, which entered five runners in the varsity race, finished third with 151 points. Fourth-ranked Capital won with 131 and Spokane Central Valley, No. 7 in 4A, was second.
But if Schick had run, Squalicum wins easily with a points total somewhere in the 90s.
"The girls were saying this was good practice for next year," Irvin said.
"Our Nos. 5- and 6 runners didn't fold, so that's promising."
Sophie Curl placed 11th for the Storm, while a pair of Lynden Christian runners - Carrie Beamer and Michelle Steiger - were 18th and 19th. Mount Baker's Michael Urbano was 20th.
King's, the top-ranked 1A team, placed fourth and No. 2 Nooksack Valley was the second-highest 1A school and ninth overall.
Lake Stevens junior Joey Bywater broke the varsity boys' course record, clocking a time of 14:53.68. Matt Frerker of Skyline set the previous mark of 15:00 last fall.
Burlington-Edison won the boys' team title for the second straight year, edging Lake Stevens 85-99. The Tigers are ranked second in 2A behind Sehome.
Junior Josh Simpson was Burlington-Edison's highest finisher, placing 11, but the Tigers' top five runners all finished among the top 27.
Reach Doug Pacey at doug.paceybellinghamherald.com or 756-2863.