The Bellingham boys' and girls' cross country teams had a pair of impressive showings at the prestigious 38th Annual Sunfair Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 1, at Franklin Park in Yakima.


The Red Raiders boys, who entered the week ranked eighth in Class 2A in the latest Washington State Cross Country Coaches poll, were the top-finishing 2A team in the meet with 141 points. They placed 12th overall among the 54 teams from various classifications from around the region.

"I think it speaks well for Whatcom County that so many teams did so well (Saturday)," Bellingham coach Bill McClement said.

Not to be outdone, the Bellingham girls' team, which is ranked fifth, finished second among 2A competition and was 11th overall with 110 points.

On the boys' side, Joe Charbonneau placed 30th in the seventh flight, which matched each team's top runners, with a time of 16 minutes, 45.6 seconds on the 3-mile course. Terry McClement was 26th in the sixth flight in 16:55.7, and Paris Speidel was 22nd in the fifth flight. Brian Chmelik, who was running in his first race of the season after recovering from an ankle injury, placed 13th in the fourth flight in 17:00, while Grant Bennett was 21st in 17:33.7 in the third flight. Bellingham also got a pair of 16th-place finishes from Simon Maguire (17:45.6) and Jamie Sayegh (17:51.5) in the second and first flights, respectively.

On the girls' side, Molly Leischner finished 11th in the sixth flight in 19:39.7, and Nicole Burbank (20:34.9) was 17th in the fifth flight. Leah Veldhuisen (20:28.1) was 14th in the fourth flight, while Katie Walker (20:32.4) was 10th in the third flight. Maya Norton (12th in second flight in 21:21) and Hayley Walker (10th in first flight in 21:26) rounded out a strong day by the Red Raiders.

"Brian Chmelik had a very good day for first race after an ankle injury," McClement said. "I thought all the kids did well. Katie Walker had a wonderful day as far her running a personal best, and Molly had a very strong day."

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