Holz signing

Sedro-Woolley boys’ cross country runner Rafe Holz will run for the Western Washington University cross country team.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — It may have been a foregone conclusion, but Sedro-Woolley boys’ cross country runner Rafe Holz made if official Wednesday, signing to run at Western Washington University.

Holz, who raced to a third-place finish at last year’s Class 2A state meet and was named the Skagit Valley Herald’s Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year, will continue to run close to home.

With his final prep track season looming, Holz is looking forward to what lies ahead as a member of the Vikings’ cross country team.

“It’s really exciting,” Holz said after signing to make it official. “Western is a strong Division II running program and they are extremely competitive. And it’s close to home. I’ll get to come back and watch the (Sedro-Woolley) team compete.”

It’s exactly what the senior was looking for.

“Bellingham is a great place to train,” Holz added. “They have nice trails.”

While Western was always on his list of possibilities, Holz also showed interest in Gonzaga and traveled to Central Washington University on a recruiting trip.

Sedro-Woolley cross country coach Shawn VanTassel said Holz was on plenty of schools’ radars.

“I got a lot of interest by email from a lot of places,” VanTassel said. “I knew he wouldn’t probably be interested in a lot of them. He knew where he wanted to go run.”

Holz said he was impressed by the Vikings’ coaching staff, which includes the legendary Pee Wee Halsell, who is in his 33rd year.

“The coaching staff is passionate about the sport,” Holz said. “I will probably redshirt my freshman year, but that could change if I’m competitive in the 5K or 10K distances. ... I’m a little nervous, but I’m also excited.”

Holz plans to study exercise science, mentioning kinesiology or physical therapy as areas of interest.

“I had a great senior (cross country) season,” Holz said. “Now I’m getting ready for track.”

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