The old Cascade Golf Course in North Bend could become a major player in high school cross country, plus Mount Si XC news…..

The start area at last Wednesday’s Mount Si High School home cross country meet at the old Cascade Golf Course in North Bend. MSHS coach Sean Sundwall is hoping to bring larger meets to this new venue, including the Kingco Championships. (Rhett Workman/SVSJ)

This past week, as we told you on Thursday, was a historic one for Mount Si High School’s cross country program, as it hosted a meet for the first time on a course that perhaps will become their long-term home going forward.

The old Cascade Golf Course in North Bend hosted the meet last Wednesday, and the setting couldn’t have been more spectacular for a first go-round at this. Head coach Sean Sundwall was thrilled to be able to host this meet at the course.

“Mount Si has had many home courses over the years,” Sundwall said. “Since I joined the team I have spent a lot time looking around the area to find a course. The Mount Si Golf Course (in Snoqualmie) was a great venue for the past two years. But since they are a very popular and active golf course it made it difficult for us to practice on our home course. With the passage of the Si View Parks levy (last) November, that organization (Si View Metro Parks) was able to purchase the old golf course and preserve it as open space. The old Cascade Golf Course is a stunning setting and perfectly meets the constraints that we have for a cross country course.”

Participants in the race, from five Kingco 4A high schools including Mount Si (others were Bothell, Issaquah, North Creek and Woodinville) ran a 5k course which consisted of two loops around the old golf course facility. The start and finish areas were located behind the Riverbend Cafe and the general store, and there was plenty of space for spectators to move about, and they did a lot of that during the course of the meet. The way the course was set up, it allowed for plenty of movement of spectators to catch the action.

Parking was a bit of a challenge for this first go-round; cars were parked at two locations – in front of the Riverbend Cafe in the old golf course’s main parking lot, and at a secondary parking lot off of SE 142nd St. at the west end of the property. But Sundwall thinks the venue is capable of hosting bigger events than just regular season meets. “What the new course also does is allows us to host bigger meets. My dream is to host the KingCo Championships in 2020 and beyond,” Sundwall told us. “I also think there is an opportunity to host a very large invitational. 1,500 cars can be parked on site and there is ample open space to allow for a very large event. But hosting KingCo is my first goal.” And a goal that is clearly attainable.

This is a venue that, as we suggested on Thursday in our story about the meet, has the potential to become one of the higher-profile ones in the region. First, there’s easy access to the venue for visiting schools – it’s right off I-90 at Exit 32 – so schools will be able to get in and out relatively quickly. Secondly, the cafe and general store are both still in operation, and those establishments stand to potentially do a lot of business during these type of events as spectators look to have a bite to eat or grab a quick drink. Third, there were plenty of portable restrooms on site for the meet, and that can be expected again for future meets, so that’s also a plus.

The finishing area at last Wednesday’s Mount Si High School cross country meet at Cascade. Sundwall believes the venue can hold a large number of spectators, making it potentially a viable one regionally for high school cross country. (Rhett Workman/SVSJ)

Hosting the KingCo Championship meet at CGC would see the venue replace venerable Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, a venue that has been used for many years but now has the challenge of requiring the purchase of the Discover Pass for spectators to park and use the facility, essentially imposing an additional fee on Kingco cross country families on top of school participation fees, as all Kingco teams will race at least once or twice a season there. Parking at the Cascade facility is free, and since the parkland is locally managed as opposed to state-managed, the Discover Pass is not required.

Traffic impacts, if you went past it on Thursday, were there but not too big a deal for most people. The old course is near two large neighborhoods – Cedar Village and Riverbend – and is along a road – Cedar Falls Road – that is very busy with it being the primary route to get to Wilderness Rim and surrounding areas, including the Cedar Falls garbage/recycling transfer station and Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area.

With all this in mind, the main issue moving forward for Mount Si and Si View Metro Parks likely will be parking and traffic getting in and out of there with as many people as the venue potentially could hold – 1,500 cars could potentially bring with it upwards of several thousand athletes and spectators for the big invitational and postseason meets – so if Si View, the school and Sundwall can work those issues out with neighbors and the King County Sheriff’s Office (who would be responsible for traffic control in that area if they’re needed for that purpose), this is a venue that perhaps over the next three-five years could become a crown jewel in our community, helping bring visitors and potential economic impact to the upper Valley.

While the future is very much bright for Mount Si and local cross country, there is the issue of the present, and there is some news on that front as well.

Mount Si heads to Hole in Wall invite
The Wildcats yesterday traveled up to Arlington for the Hole in the Wall invitational meet at Lakewood High School, and had solid results.

The Mount Si boys were led by Paul Talens and Austin Gappa. Talens took 43rd in the main boys’ varsity race clocking the 5k course on the Lakewood campus in 16:07.7, while Gappa was right behind in 46th with a time of 16:09.5. The Wildcat girls were led by Ravenna Vaden, who finished well back in the main girls’ varsity clocking 20:13.2 and finishing 146th out of 316 entrants, so right in the middle of the pack.

The races drew a large regional field, from as far away as Alaska and California. Mount Si wraps up its regular season on Wednesday meeting Skyline at a location to be determined; we’ll check on it for you, and the postseason begins on November 2 with the district meet at Lake Sammamish State Park.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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