Saville Feist

Saville Feist’s strong senior season has earned her Skagit Valley Herald Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year honors.

Saville Feist’s contributions to the Anacortes cross country team this season can’t be summed up by her finishes alone.

Sure, Feist was the top local runner at the Skagit County meet and the bi-district 2A championships ... but the soft-spoken senior also stepped into a role as a leader for the young Seahawks.

For both of her roles — as top performer for the Seahawks and example to teammates — Feist has been selected as the Skagit Valley Herald Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year.

It’s the second such selection for Feist, who was the Herald’s runner of the year after her sophomore season.

In terms of finishes, it was a season of peaks and valleys for Feist.

A medical issue tripped her up at the Class 2A state meet, but she was a consistently solid performer during the regular season, as well as other stops in the postseason.

She finished 81st at the state meet.

“I was bummed with how it went,” said Feist, who noted she’s still recovering from injuries sustained when she was stuck by a car while riding her bicycle last year.

But her regular season included three victories, including one in 19 minutes, 55 seconds on the 5,000-meter course at the Skagit County Championships in Sedro-Woolley.

She was also the top local runner at the bi-disrict meet, where she finished second, and at the Northwest Conference championships, where she finished third with a personal-best time of 19:00.3.

Seahawks coach Brad Templeton said Feist was also an important presence away from races, where she helped guide a young Seahawks program that saw the boys go 7-0 in conference and the girls go 5-2.

“It didn’t happen right away. A couple, three weeks into the season, she started to bond with the younger kids,” Templeton said. “We had five or six freshmen and she started taking on the leadership role. She’s not the kind to call team meetings but she’d give advice when they needed it. In the past, that’s not something I’d expect from her. But it came naturally. ... She wanted to show the kids if you want to win, you have to show up and run your best.”

Feist said, “I’m not loud or bossy or demanding. But I tried to lead by example and it was fun. We had a strong group of girls and I wanted them to enjoy it. Cross country has moments where it’s not fun, but I wanted them to have fun. We had a great time.”

Reporter Trevor Pyle: 360-416-2156, tpyle@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Sports_SVH, Facebook.com/bytrevorpyle

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