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Sports roundup: Local runners shine at Hole in the Wall XC Invite

WWU volleyball has 5-game win streak snapped by MSU Billings

A boys race between Sehome
A boys race between Sehome (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
By Connor J. Benintendi Sports Editor

Whatcom County prep cross country teams attended one of the biggest meets of the season, turning in a handful of top performances. Local top-end girls soccer teams also suffered their first losses of the season, erasing the last of the Northwest Conference’s undefeated teams.

Western Washington University cross country was split between two meets last week and won two team titles, while the Vikings’ volleyball squad played one of their closest matches of the season.

For everything prep football-related, see this week’s football forecast.

Here’s everything else you may have missed from the last week in fall sports.


Cross country

photo  Halfway through their race, Squalicum’s Evan Rush, left, and Chase Bartlett run side-by-side Sept. 14, 2022, during a meet at Hovander Homestead Park. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Seven Whatcom County cross country teams gathered at Lakewood High School on Saturday, Oct. 7 for the Nike Hole in the Wall XC Invite — one of Washington’s largest regular-season prep meets with more than 150 teams present.

Athletes from Sehome, Bellingham, Squalicum, Blaine, Lynden, Mount Baker and Nooksack Valley were present, though only 14 runners competed in the 5,000-meter varsity elite races — all on the boys side.

Squalicum senior Chase Bartlett — ranked fifth statewide in Class 2A — finished 16th overall out of 192 runners with his time of 15:41.2. Sehome junior Skyler Gillham took 22nd with his time of 15:52.5, while junior teammate Heath Terry finished 44th (16:13.9) to round out Whatcom County finishers in the top 50.

Bellingham sophomore Berkley Pass finished first overall among 322 competitors in the boys 5,000-meter varsity gold race, rivaling runners in the elite race with his time of 15:52.8. Bayhawks senior Quinn Hartsoch took 14th, clocking a time of 16:26.8. Lynden senior Gage Ellis took 36th with his time of 16:51.7, and Sehome freshman Judson Berreth (16:53.2) was just two seconds behind him in 37th.

On the girls side, Bellingham freshman Sophie Koch turned in the top performance of the day with her time of 18:37.6 in the girls 5,000-meter varsity silver race — finishing first overall out of 343 runners and crossing the finish line 40 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Bayhawks junior Zaya Smith finished third with a time of 19:34.3.

Girls soccer

There are no more unbeaten teams in the NWC. Ferndale (8-1-2, 5-1-2 NWC) and Sehome (8-1-3, 5-1-1 NWC) suffered their first losses of the season last week.

Ferndale lost to Bellingham, 2-1, on Thursday, Oct. 5 in a narrow road defeat. Sophomore forward Beckett Ferry scored the would-be game-winning goal for the Bayhawks (7-2-2, 4-1-1 NWC), who narrowed the gap in the league standings with their win.

The Golden Eagles bounced back to beat Anacortes (6-4-1, 2-2-1 NWC) on Monday, Oct. 9 by a score of 2-1.

Sehome also lost its first match 2-1 on Thursday, Oct. 5, but to Oak Harbor (9-2-1, 5-2-1 NWC). The Mariners have since defeated Ferndale’s conqueror, Bellingham, 4-1, on Monday, Oct. 9.

Ferndale maintains a slight lead in the 2A/3A league standings over Oak Harbor and Sehome with its one loss and two ties in conference matches. Lynden (8-2-2, 4-1-1 NWC) and Bellingham have continued to narrow that gap, however.

Since beginning its league schedule, Lynden Christian (4-7-0, 4-0-0 NWC) has won four consecutive matches. The Lyncs have beaten all four of the other 1A NWC teams during that span by a combined score of 24-0. 

Meridian (5-5-1, 3-1-1 NWC) and Blaine (3-3-2, 2-1-1 NWC) are just below LC, but their losses to the Lyncs will make it difficult to recover in the latter half of the league schedule.


photo  Bellingham’s Chayse Flick-Williams celebrates a point for the Bayhawks Wednesday, Oct. 4 during a match against Nooksack Valley. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Lynden (11-1, 10-0 NWC) and Sehome (9-1, 9-1 NWC) just keep winning. 

Sehome has rebounded from dropping its first match of the season against Lynden on Sept. 6 to the tune of winning nine consecutive games, with the last three coming via sweep. The Mariners defeated Meridian (10-2, 8-2 NWC) in straight sets on Thursday, Oct. 5, before downing Mount Baker (0-12, 0-10 NWC) by the same result.

Lynden has won eight in a row, with the last seven victories via sweep. The Lions possess a 36-3 set record so far this season, dominating most of their opponents. Lynden has two marquee matchups on the near horizon: Home matches against Meridian on Oct. 11, and Burlington-Edison (12-0, 10-0 NWC) on Thursday, Oct. 19.

The middle ground of the NWC volleyball standings is congested, with six teams that have between three and six wins more than a month into the season (Ferndale, Nooksack Valley, Lakewood, Oak Harbor, Bellingham and Mount Vernon).

Lynden Christian (8-5, 6-4 NWC) and Anacortes (8-3, 7-3 NWC) sit just above that group in a small tier of their own, carving out just enough space to remain in contention for the NWC title should a top-end team receive consecutive losses. 


Cross country

Western’s cross country teams were split between two meets on Saturday, Oct. 7. Some Vikings runners attended the Lewis Crossover at the Lewis XC Course in Romeoville, Illinois, while others ran at the Emerald City Open at Lower Woodland Park in Seattle.

The men’s and women’s teams each captured team titles at the Emerald City Open. Junior Emma Smith led all Vikings finishers with her second-place finish and a time of 23:34.0. Sophomore Emmy Kroontje also finished top-five in the women’s race, clocking a time of 23:49.4 to take fifth.

Western’s men’s team was led by juniors Dylan Lennon (seventh, 26:31.4) and Drew Weber (eighth, 26:34.0).

The Vikings notched three top-20 finishes at the Lewis Crossover, led by a personal-best performance from junior Kevin McDermott (12th, 24:16.2). Western’s men finished fourth, while its women’s team took sixth.

Senior Andrew Oslin posted a 14th place finish in the men’s race with his time of 24:22.7, and sophomore Ashley Reeck was the Vikings’ lone top-20 finisher on the women’s side (18th, 21:40.7) with a new personal-best time.


photo  Western Washington University’s Finnley Claeys (5) reacts to a point Thursday, Oct. 5 during a match versus Seattle Pacific University. (Photo courtesy of Rio Giancarlo)  

Western (5-10, 5-2 GNAC) had its five-game win streak snapped in a five-set loss (25-16, 24-26, 21-25, 25-22, 13-15) to Montana State University, Billings, on Saturday, Oct. 7 — a markedly tight match that saw the Vikings outscore the Yellow Jackets despite the defeat.

Redshirt freshmen Emily Vossenkuhl (16) and Delaney Speer (13), and sophomore Devyn Oestreich (12), each finished with double-digit kills in the game. Sophomore Adele Holland, redshirt freshman Finnley Claeys, Oestreich and Speer all had at least 10 digs, with Oestreich notching a team-high 17. Holland also led the Vikings with 41 assists.

After beginning the 2023–24 season 0-9 overall, the Vikings had been on a roll since beginning their league schedule on Sept. 14, losing to Central Washington in their first match before winning five in a row. 

Western’s next chance to bounce back will be a home match versus Saint Martin’s (10-6, 4-3 GNAC) on Thursday, Oct. 12.

Girls soccer standings — Oct. 12

Girls soccer League Overall
Team W-L-T W-L-T
Ferndale 6-1-2 9-1-2
Sehome 6-1-1 9-1-3
Oak Harbor 5-2-1 9-2-1
Bellingham 4-1-1 7-2-2
Lynden 4-1-1 8-2-2
Meridian 4-1-1 6-5-1
Lynden Christian 4-0-0 4-7-0
Burlington-Edison 3-2-2 7-4-2
Anacortes 2-2-1 6-4-1
Blaine 2-2-1 3-4-2
Mount Vernon 2-7-0 3-9-0
Sedro-Woolley 1-4-1 5-5-2
Squalicum 1-5-0 2-10-0
Nooksack Valley 1-4-0 1-10-0
Lakewood 1-7-0 3-9-0
Mount Baker 0-5-0 0-7-0

Volleyball standings — Oct. 12

League Overall
Team W-L W-L
Burlington-Edison 11-0 13-0
Lynden 11-0 12-1
Sehome 9-2 9-2
Meridian 8-3 10-3
Anacortes 7-3 8-3
Ferndale 7-4 7-5
Lynden Christian 6-4 8-5
Nooksack Valley 6-4 6-4
Lakewood 4-6 5-7
Oak Harbor 4-6 4-6
Bellingham 4-6 4-6
Mount Vernon 3-7 3-9
Blaine 2-8 2-8
Squalicum 1-9 1-9
Sedro-Woolley 0-10 0-11
Mount Baker 0-11 0-13

This story was updated at 2:07 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12 to include the results from Wednesday, Oct. 11.

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