Veteran cross-country team is ready to compete

The Vikings cross country team is back for its first normal season since fall 2019, and coach Mike Kulper says practices have been going smoothly.

“I’m already encouraged by the team’s efforts,” he said. “All of our runners but one have been on the team in at least one of the past two seasons. Last year we had a delayed, shortened season in the spring. We only participated in four league meets with two other schools, Coupeville and Mt. Vernon Christian. This season we’ll participate in six big invitational meets on the mainland, as well as a couple of league meets.”

The team will host a league competition at the high school and Buck Park at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21. The League Championship Meet is slated for Thursday, Oct. 21 at Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, which Kulper says is a beautiful location.

There are 9 male runners this year: freshmen Finn Ontjes; sophomores Quinn Fleming, Will Stephens and Theo Vaccarella and juniors Justin Krisch-Derr, Ryan Krisch-Derr, Logan Jones, Hunter Knapp and Porter Willis.

The Vikings’ invitational meet, the Gear Up Sports Northwest Preview, was on Sept. 11 at Civic Field in Bellingham.

“I’m really looking forward to having a full, fall cross country season once again this year, and seeing how the guys have improved,” Kulper said.