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Gorton has outstanding race in Sandpoint

October 1, 2018
Badger cross country
Tyler Warner photo
Abigail Gorton, second from left, receiving her medal for a second place finish in an exciting race at the William Johnson Sandpoint Invitational in Sandpoint.
On Saturday, the Badger cross country teams ran at the ninth William Johnson Sandpoint Invitational, a race named in memory of former Sandpoint High School runner William Johnson, who was killed in a skiing accident on Schweitzer. The races took place at Traver's Park, featuring three approximately one mile loops almost entirely on pavement.

It was, however, very flat. A strong wind picked up in the morning and created strong crosswinds and headwinds for most of the race. In spite of this, many Badger athletes set personal records.

Badger cross country
Melinda Brinkman photo
Stormy Fahey and Ella Huggins both ran personal bests.
The girls JV Race started the day off.

Lauren Onstott led the way for Bonners Ferry, running a personal best 25:38. Jenna Brooks, a sophomore, ran her first race for the Badgers and was the third JV runner, finishing in 26:10. Other notable performances include freshmen Liliana Brinkman, who ran a 28:19, and Elizabeth Bourassa, who finished in 28:32, both personal records.

Stormy Fahey also continues to drop time off, finishing in 29:30. Erin Dineen, who shaved off nearly 15 minutes off of last years times, continued to improve and ran a personal best 30:35.

The JV girls finished third out of three complete teams.

The JV boys ran next. Hunter Smith, who had been Bonners Ferry's best runner so far this season, missed last week's meet due to a family wedding.

"We try to emphasize that everyone on the team is subject to the same rules and expectations and Hunter understood that he would have to earn his spot back," said coach Tyler Warner. "We really appreciate his willingness to go through the process, and he ran a good race as a result. This gave him an opportunity to run at the front of the race and practice some strategy as a lead runner."

Three Sandpoint runners ran close behind Hunter most of the way, and he tried to let them lead a couple of times to use them as windbreaks. The four runners stayed in a tight pack until the last 200 meters, when each runner started to make their move. Hunter fell behind to fourth momentarily before rallying to secure second place and a time of 18:04, his best time this season.

All the other runners on boys JV ran career bests, including Justin Mendenhall and Conner Strickert, who ran together for most of the race.

The boys finished fourth out of five full teams.

Girls varsity was the third high school race.

Camille Ussher and Emily Gorino ran together for the entirety of the race, running personal best times of 22:44 and 22:45 respectively. The highlight of the race was Abigail Gorton, as she continued her strong season.

Badger cross country
Steven Donn photo
Badgers Oscar Valladares, Justin Mendenhall and Conner Strickert round the curve together in the boys JV race.
In a strong headwind, Abby ran stride for stride with Angelyca Chapman from Lake City High School. The two runners told each other how much they wanted to puke and kept a friendly, supportive dialogue throughout the race.

Chapman pulled away from Abby in the last 200 meters to secure first place with a time of 19:45. Abby finished with a time of 19:50 and second place.

Third place did not finish until 20:31. Abby's 19:50 is a personal best for her and is the second time in two years that a BFHS girls runner has broken the 20 minute barrier. Last year, BFHS senior Jordan Young ran under 20 minutes at Lewiston and again at districts. Young is now the leading cross country girls runner at the University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana.

Abby's time is currently the third fastest time in Idaho 3A.

Boys varsity finished off the day. Senior Sam Gorton led the way with the fastest time for Bonners Ferry this season with an impressive 17:59, a personal record. Freshman Conner Alexander continued his strong campaign with an 18:30 and junior Austin Donn ran a season best 18:49.01. With illness and injury, and Hunter Smith running JV, the boys finished fifth out of six complete teams.

Ty Grigg came in fourth for the Badgers at 19:08.51, followed by Tyler Lucas, 19:50.8, and Levi Bonnell, 20:42.5.

As the season winds down, the Badgers have two very fast meets before districts. This Saturday they head to Lewiston for the Inland Empire Challenge, which will feature 40 teams registered so far.

The following week sees them traveling to Kellogg for the Ben Castro Invitational at the Pinehurst Golf Course.

"Both meets have been fast and last year Jordan Young ran under 20 minutes for both, so Abby should have a strong opportunity to race well," Warner said. "Hunter and Sam will likely be pushing each other hard. This is where our season really culminates and kids start putting pieces together. Stay tuned!"

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P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83806