WIRC team earns 2nd in national cross country meet

The Whidbey Island Running Club finished second in the midget girls division of the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic national cross country championships in Hoover, Ala., Saturday, Dec. 11.

The USATF championship is the "premier post-season competition available to eighth-graders and younger," according to WIRC coach Catie Rodeheffer. Several organizations offer national races for high-school runners and older.

The WIRC midget girls were joined by seven teammates who competed as individuals in other divisions in the meet.

The Equalizers Track Club of California won the midget girls (11- and 12-year-olds) division with 54 points. WIRC picked up 69 points and second out of 17 teams.

WIRC, which sent six 11 year-olds, was led by Sophie Cantine of Sammamish in seventh in 11:25 in the 3K race of 236.

She was followed by Kat Copeland (Olympia, ninth, 11:27), Laura Rodeheffer (Oak Harbor, 13th, 11:35), Ariel Wilhite (Lacey, 47th, 12:06), Kaitlyn Chelberg (Oak Harbor, 54th, 12:09) and Carolynn Wicker (Oak Harbor, 186th, 13:28).

Rodeheffer finished third last year in the bantam division.

Ryan Vasileff (10, bantam boys) finished 99th (12:41) out of 237 finishers in the 3,000 race.

Logan Clark (12, midget boys), finished 154th (12:07) out of 277.

The WIRC youth boys team qualified for the meet, but only three of five could attend. John Rodeheffer, 14, placed 25th out of 304 finishers in 13:30 on the 4,000 meter course. Dakota Powers, 13, finished 80th (14:08) and Cole Zink, 14, of Langley ran 221st (15:24).

Caley Powers, 15, was 132nd (18.55) in the 5K intermediate boys (15-16) race of 197.

Christina Wicker, 15, was 54th (21:14) out of 116 in intermediate girls.

The WIRC was sponsored at the national meet by Julie Kinnaird, Windemere Realty; North Whidbey Fire and Rescue Firefighters Associations; Oak Harbor Fire Department Association; Fleet Readiness Center Northwest First Class Association; and Fleet Readiness Center Northwest Second Class Association.

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