Fall sports preview: Seniors Ellefson, Bloomenrader to pace Wolves’ cross country crew

Overall turnout is down from last season, but a number of key returners are back to lead the Sequim High cross country squads into the fall 2023 season.

Senior Kaitlyn Bloomenrader, who set a personal best in the 5,000 meters in her sixth place finish at the league final in 2022, led the Wolves’ girls to a berth at the state 2A finals, where she placed 49th overall.

“She’s looking fast [this preseason],” said Sequim assistant coach BJ Schade.

This year she’s backed by newcomer Dawn Hulstedt, who had a strong showing in several races in the 2023 track and field season.

“She was really putting in the work over the summer,” Schade said of Hustedt.

Also back are a quartet of juniors: Liberty Mavy, Aspen Goldner, Mia Kirner and Lilly Despain. Mavy was 12th at the league final in 2022 and both she and Goldner raced at the state championships last fall.

Mavy should be the girls’ No. 3 runner, Schade said, but is dealing with a hip injury early on. Goldner put in miles over the summer and that work should help improve her times.

The girls team’s newcomers include Bridget “Birdie” Pyeatt, whose older sister Riley paced Sequim for four years.

On the boys’ side, senior Colby Ellefson looks to shrug off a foot injury that nagged him last season and have a strong finish to his prep career.

Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell / Sequim High junior Kaitlyn Bloomenrader races to a sixth place finish at the Olympic League cross country championships at The Cedars at Dungeness golf course in 2022.

Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell / Sequim High junior Kaitlyn Bloomenrader races to a sixth place finish at the Olympic League cross country championships at The Cedars at Dungeness golf course in 2022.

“He’s healthy,” Schade said of Ellefson. “We’ll watch his mileage and workouts [to protect his health, but] he’s looking strong. Just needs to get in some races.”

The Wolves lost top runner Owen Randall to graduation, but see returners Sean Southard, Ari Skov, Owen Tjemsland among others vying for the top five spots.

Southard has plenty of speed, Schade said, but could use consistency to excel across longer distances.

Newcomers with potential, Schade noted, include Solas McGruther, Adrian Osborne and Reid Randall. McGruther in particular looks strong early on Schade said.

“He’s a great addition,” Shade said.

“Wew’re looking for some of these kids to step up,” he said at a preseason practice on Sept. 8. “Right now, I don’t know who our top five [boys] are.”

Schade said he doesn’t expect the Wolves to compete for district titles, but district team berths aren’t out of the question, and that Bloomenrader, Ellefson and Hulstedt should have very strong chances to book state meet trips.

Wolves compete at Bellarmine invitational

Colby Ellefson raced to a fifth place finish in the varsity two-0mile race at the Bellarmine Invite in Tacoma on Sept. 9. Ellefson completed the course in 10:20, about 21 seconds back of Bishop Blanchet junior Vincent Recupero.

In the 132-competitor freshman race, Sequim’s Reid Randall took 19th in 12:26 and teammate Adrian Osborne was 24th, in 12:39. SHS placed eighth as a team. Malichi Byrne was 38th and Easton Sisemore was 40th in the junior varsity/sophomore race.

On the girls’ side, Kaitlyn Bloomenrader was 29th (13:20) and Dawn Hulstedt was 31st (13:28) in the varsity race. In the junior varsity junior/senior race, Sequim’s Aspen Goldner was 29th, Mia Kirner was36th and Lilly Despain placed 41st. Bridget “Birdie” Pyeatt was 25th in the freshman race.

In the girls’ middle school 1-mile open race, Eleanor Jones of Sequim won with a time of 6:13.

Sequim has their first Olympic League meet on Sept. 13 in Silverdale.

The Wolves are at the Salt Creek Invitational just west of Port Angeles on Sept. 16 before hosting their lone regular meet of the 2023 season, on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Voice of America.

Fall sports preview: SHS cross country

Head coach: Paul Brinkman (fifth year); assistant: B.J. Schade

2022 record: Girls — third at Olympic League final, fifth at districts; 15th at state 2A meet; Boys — seventh at Olympic League final, 11th at districts; one athlete to state 2A meet

Returning athletes: Girls — Kaitlyn Bloomenrader (sr.), Liberty Mavy (jr.), Aspen Goldner (jr.), Mia Kirner (jr.), Lilly Despain (jr.). Boys — Colby Ellefson (sr.), Sean Southard (jr.), Ari Skov (sr.), Owen Tjemsland (sr.), Connor Goff (jr.), Malachi Byrne (so.), Cayden Beauregard (sr.), Easton Sisemore (so.), Brody Anderson (sr.), Cooper Farley (so.)

Newcomers: Girls — Ali Beauregard, Krista Charters (sr.), Dawn Hulstedt (jr.), Bridget “Birdie” Pyeatt (fr.). Boys — Brandon Bair (fr.), Julian Broadfoot (fr.), Solas McGruther, Adrian Osborne (fr.), Reid Randall (fr.), Zach Sterrett (fr.), Riley Tadlock (sr.)

2023 SHS cross country schedule

Date Opponent/meet time

Sept. 9 at Bellarmine Invite, Tacoma 8:30 a.m.

Sept. 13 at Olympic (Silverdale), 4 p.m.

Sept. 16 Salt Creek Invitational, Port Angeles, 9:45 a.m.

Sept. 20 Home league meet (Voice of America) 4 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Bremerton 4 p.m.

Sept. 30 at John Payne Invitational, University Place TBA

Oct. 4 at Bainbridge 4 p.m.

Oct. 7 at Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational, Lakewood 9 a.m.

Oct. 11 at North Mason (Belfair), 4 p.m.

Oct. 19 Olympic League championships, Sequim 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 28 at Westside Classic (district meet), University Place TBA