Wildcat runners climb mountain

Oak Harbor's High School's cross country team is already racing.

“Officially, Oak Harbor’s High School’s cross country team begins its season on Sept. 9. But some of the team’s runners are already racing. The latest contest took place up, down and around Blue Mountain in southeastern Washington during the Screaming Banshee Wilderness Triathlon Aug. 26.Six Wildcat runners – Scott Sebens, Chris Pulliam, Andrew Pulliam, Wes Hartman, Eric Rooney and Alex Denny – tested themselves afoot, afloat and on mountain bikes against a field of 63, mostly adult athletes. They passed their tests convincingly, posting 1rst, 2nd, 3rd and 5th-place finishes.The biking portion consisted of a nine-mile ascent up one side of the mountain, followed by a three-mile descent down the back side of the 2,000-foot summit. The next portion of the event involved paddling a canoe for two miles around a pre-determined course on nearby Twin Lakes.Lastly, the triathletes set out on a six-mile run – beginning on the steepest portion of Blue Mountain.The first mile-and-a-half was the hardest, Sebens said on Monday, during a break from cross-country practice at the high school. But we were all pretty much in shape.This is the second Screaming Banshee Wilderness Triathlon for Sebens, who finished second overall in the competition.Same with Chis Pulliam, who won the event last year.Cross-country coach Seth Hodges said the boys are part of a group of runners who like to test themselves beyond the limits of cross-country racing.If there’s a mountain bike event, they’re there, Hodges said, adding that he never has to worry about the runners showing up out of shape for cross country season, which begins at 11 a.m. Sept. 9 at the Berthusen Relay in Lynden.———————Screaming Banshee Wilderness Triathlon results: Team, men.Wes Hartman and Eric Rooney – First Place – 2:17:57Alex Denny and Andrew Pulliam – Third Place – 2:31:37 Iron Man – Scott Sebens – Second Place – 2:02:19Chris Pulliam – Fifth Place – 2:18:37 “