Eight students at Newport High School won the high school division of the annual Ski to Sea race last weekend that goes from Mt. Baker to the bay in Bellingham.
Competing as the Neon Knights, the boys won the division in 6:56.56.7, beating the second place team by nine minutes and placing 86th out of 445 teams.
The race starts with a cross country race on the top of Mt. Baker and ends with a Kayak race in the bay. More than 400 teams – 3,200 racers – competed over the 85-mile course, which consisted of seven competitive legs.
The team came by its name naturally. Each member was clad in head-to-toe green neon. Michael Hutchins, who competed in the second leg of the event, added a polka-dotted neon headband.
“I’ll just do it as fast as I can,” said Hutchins, who has been skiing since he was two years old. “I feel pretty confident.”
The majority of the team’s members run cross country for Newport High, said Candy Baunsgard, the mother of another teammate.
“Endurance-wise, they’re in their prime,” she said. “They’re ready to rumble. They’re all trying to stay vertical. That’s their mantra.”
The boys who competed for the Neon Knights and the leg they raced are:
Leg 1 – Neil Baunsgard, XC Ski; Leg 2 – Michael Hutchins, Downhill Ski; Leg 3 – Neil Walton, Run; Leg 4 – Blaine Lints, Bike; Leg 5 – Kris Plunkett and Daniel Clodfelter, Canoe; Leg 6 – Bentley Altizer, Mtn Bike; Leg 7 – Ryan Steele, Kayak.