Edmonds-Woodway runners find themselves on cross country course

By Megan Managan | Oct 10, 2013
Photo by: Megan Managan Miler Haller and Hailey Kettel are two leading members of this year’s Edmonds-Woodway cross country team.

One was born a runner, while the other is learning as she goes, but despite taking much different paths to this fall’s cross country season two athletes at Edmonds-Woodway High School are standing out.

Miler Haller was born into a family of runners. His dad, a former college runner, and mom had him running early.

“Both my parents are runners and they always had me run from a young age, at camps and just around small 5k’s here and there. It grew through middle school and into now,” said Haller, a junior at Edmonds-Woodway.

Senior Hailey Kettel joined the sport last season after years of playing soccer and running track.

“I think the atmosphere, that is a huge part of it,” Kettel said of why she joined the team. “This is like a family and we all get along. If someone has a bad day or a bad race, everyone will always be working on cheering that person up because a lot of us know what it feels like to feel like you failed.”

After so-so seasons last fall, both stepped up and found new inspiration in running, which has begun to pay off.

Alan Bonney, the Warriors head coach, said last season wasn’t the best for either athlete. He explained Haller didn’t put in enough effort to get the results he could have, while Kettel let the mental aspects scare her.

“Over the winter, he caught fire and the more he worked, the better he got,” said Bonney of Haller. “Hailey – I’ll put it this way – she was scared of her own shadow. She would find a way to say ‘oh I can’t do that’, but again she worked and started to see results and started to feel like she can do this. Both of them are extremely talented.”

So far this season, the pair have won meets and both placed in the top 10 during the annual Nike Pre-Nationals race in Portland, Ore. The race featured some of the top high school runners from throughout Washington and Oregon. Haller was second in the boys race with a time of 17:03, while Kettel finished in seventh place in 20:07.

“I think both of them have the capability be in the top 15 at state,” said their coach.

Kettel said, though it’s still early in the season, she feels much better about where she is compared to last year.

“It’s been going really well, definitely a better start than last year,” she said. “I trained really hard over the summer; I put down over 500 miles, which was a big goal for me. I just really took workouts that my coach gave me really seriously and it’s paying off. It usually takes about a meet or two to get a feel for things, but I feel like I came in the first meet like I was ready.”

Last spring, Kettel said her goal was to make it to state during track season, which she did. But now she realizes the goal has to be to do well at state, in order to keep pushing forward.

“I learned – that was my first state experience – my goal can’t just be state,” said the senior. “It has to be succeeding at state; it can’t just be getting to state because once you’re there you’re like I’m here, I met my goal who cares. I want to do well at state. I want to not only make it there, but run a solid race and try to go to the next level, the Border Clash, the big race between Oregon and Washington.”

Haller has similar goals, including a solid performance at the state meet.

“This year my goal is to take top 10 in state and make it to Border Clash,” he said. In order to get there, Haller, who averaged 60 to 70 miles a week this summer, said he needs to keep running.

“I’d say keeping up my mileage and making sure I’m not losing on my mileage and making sure I’m not getting hurt and icing when I need to,” he said.

While the individual runners have their sights set on strong personal results, the Warriors team aspect is catching up.

“Our boys are starting to develop,” said Bonney. “In cross country you score seven runners and right now I think we have five, probably six, so we’re another year away from really making some noise. The girls we’re still in a world of hurt. The girls are struggling but the boys are getting there.”

Kettel said there are a lot of girls on the team who haven’t run competitively before and seeing them finish races is gratifying.

“A lot of us, last year as a team, we weren’t really into it,” said Haller of the boys squad. “It was like a job coming out here and running. This last summer training together and its gotten more to where we’re out here to hang out and have fun and run. People are having more fun.”

No matter how this season goes, Haller will have another next fall. For Kettel, she’s beginning to look at her post high school options, including running in college. So far her top choices are on the West Coast, most likely at a smaller Division II School.

“Its just cool knowing I have all these options, and it’s cool to see my hard work is paying off,” she said. “I’m going to have good options for my future. It’s nice to know that.”

The Warriors will compete again on Thursday, Oct. 10 in a meet at Stanwood against Oak Harbor and Stanwood. The meet is set to begin at 3:45 p.m.

Contact Megan Managan at reporter@yourbeacon.net with sports scores and story ideas. Connect on Twitter @meganmanagan.

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