The Whisper boys wrapped up the middle school division finishing second to a fine team out of Portland. Our boys were led by last years Ultimook champion, Cooper, and teammate Payten. Together they powered through the course, first to the mud pit, then to the water crossings. They were 1-2 at the 2k mark, and finished 1-3 in the end. Cooper ran an incredible 10:44, 8 seconds faster than his winning 2022 time, but this time finished third.
Hands down, the performance of the day goes to Payten, who set a course record on his way to victory, running 10:32. Keep in mind, the course distance is a 3k, with a mud pit and two water crossings!
Whisper has had the fortune of racing Ultimook annually since 2017. Ultimook’s inception was in 2012. In the seven years participating in Ultimook, Whisper now has three boys in the top-5 of Ultimook’s 12-year history – Payten (1) and Cooper (5), and Sam Soto (3) in 2020, a year in which no mud pit was included in the race for social distancing purposes.
The girls side was just as impressive. Never before in the history of the Ultimook race has a female middle school runner broken 12-minutes in the 3k course. That was, until Saturday. Sofía, like Payten, broke the Ultimook course record by running a blistering 11:53.04, .02 seconds ahead of third place finisher, Lilly of Enterprise Running Club. Though Sofía broke the course record, shockingly, she placed second behind Cassidy of Timerhill Harriers. The top three girls were .4 seconds apart, or about the length of time it takes to blink your eyes. Charlie, of Whisper, was in the mix in the final 1k, finishing fourth overall with a time of 12:13. Charlie’s time would have been third all-time on the Ultimook course, but this years top crop set a new standard, and 12:13 now ranks her sixth all-time.
Collectively, Whisper now has three female performers in the top-6 at Ultimook. Sofía is second, Daphne (2020) a junior at Skyview is fourth, and Charlie is sixth.
STILL CONTEMPLATING CLUB?
For runners on the fence, still wondering if they’d like to run club cross country this fall, here are some stats that you may consider. As good as our front runners were on Saturday, our average 3k time for the girls on Saturday was 16:03, and the qualifying time for USATF JO Nationals was around 12:30 for the 11-12 girls in 2022. The 3k qualifying time was around 11:20 for the 11-12 boys in 2022, who averaged 13:36 on Saturday. Runners in the 13-14 age group run the 4k distance at Junior Olympics. The converted average to the 4k distance from Saturday’s/Utlimook’s 3k distance was 21:26 for the girls, and the typical qualifying time to get to nationals hangs around 16-minutes. For the boys converted 3k to 4k, 18.08 would be the average 4k time using Ultimook’s 3k distance. The average qualifying time from regionals, qualifying for nationals in 2022, 14:15. If you are intimidated by the use of the word “Club” or words “Junior Olympics,” I tell our runners this: a course is a course is a course. Once the gun goes off, it’s all the same, whether you are wearing a Whisper singlet, or other. Come join the fun with Whisper this fall! You won’t regret it!