Logan McKay runs the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Logan McKay runs the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Shamrock Shuffle benefits Whalers wrestling

The 1.5- and 3-mile runs were organized to align with St. Patrick’s Day and drew about 90 competitors

Kurt and Tammy Strausbaugh promoted a healthy community lifestyle Sunday, times two.

The Strausbaughs put on the first Shamrock Shuffle at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. The 1.5- and 3-mile runs were organized to align with St. Patrick’s Day and drew about 90 competitors. Proceeds benefited the Soldotna Whalers Freestyle Wrestling Club.

For Josiah Martin, the overall winner of the 3-mile run with a time of 17 minutes, 29 seconds, it was easy to see how the Whalers and the community fun run joined together. Martin was a member of the Whalers program when he was 8 years old before moving to the Kenai Kavemen Wrestling Club.

“I’m happy to support exercise and activity,” Martin said. “So many kids these days don’t have an outlet for those things. This gives them that outlet.”

Martin said he has always appreciated being active, whether that was backcountry adventures with his family, basketball at the Kenai Recreation Center, fat tire biking or cross-country skiing. His YouTube channel, youtube.com/c/josiahmartin, is devoted to being outside and being active.

All those hours of activity came in handy for Martin during the race when Jordan Strausbaugh, a freshman at Soldotna High School, streaked into the lead in the 3-mile race.

Strausbaugh finished 16th in the Class 4A state race for the Soldotna girls in the fall. This winter, she took up skiing for the first time and won the junior varsity Region III title. Lately, she has been staying in shape with her favorite sport — soccer.

Though she never wrestled for the Whalers, Jordan’s brother, Jacob, does. Jacob is a sixth-grader and Soldotna Montessori Charter School and Jordan would note she was able to beat him Sunday. Jacob finished at 18:16.

The 3-mile race featured two 1.5-mile loops along the Sterling Highway. Three-quarters of the way through the race, Martin passed Bill Wood for the men’s lead, but Strausbaugh, the granddaughter of Kurt and Tammy, still had a sizable lead.

“He said, ‘Come on, you’ve got to go get her,’” Martin said of Wood. “I said, ‘No way. I’m having trouble just keeping up with you.’”

Martin gradually reeled in Strausbaugh.

“I could hear his footsteps the whole way,” she said.

At the corner about 100 yards from the finish, Martin made his pass and defeated Strausbaugh by four seconds.

“I felt kind of bad passing a high school girl near the end like that, but it’s all competition and good fun,” he said.

A female competitor did win the 1.5-mile race, with Avery Powell taking the overall win at 11:49, with Clayton McDonald taking the top men’s slot at 13:07.

Kurt Strausbaugh is the head coach of the Whalers. He said the proceeds of the race will be used to take 10 to 15 wrestlers to Las Vegas in the last week of April.

Last year, the Whalers had 143 wrestlers and were one of the top 50 clubs by size of 3,500 clubs in the United States.

“We’re just not out there teaching the sport of wrestling,” Strausbaugh said. “We’re out to teach them to be good citizens as well. We want to teach them life skills.”

The Strausbaughs have taken advantage of familiar running dates nationwide to raise money for community causes. On Thanksgiving, the couple raised money for Freedom House with a Turkey Trot.

The next event the Strausbaughs do will be the Moose River Hustle on May 11 in Sterling. This event raises money for Meals on Wheels for the Sterling Senior Center.

Shamrock Shuffle

Sunday in Soldotna

(Some competitors may be missing)

1.5 miles — 1. Avery Powell 11:49, 2. Clayton McDonald 13:07, 3. Sawyer Graham 13:23, 4. Nathan Powell 14:35, 5. Maddie Worth 14:41, 6. Shelby Huffer 15:04, 7. Abby Huffer 15:07, 8. Denali Tucker 16:24, 9. Kandi Barcus 16:27, 10. Jade Mann 16:39, 11. McKinley Bock 19:00, 12. Carissa McKay 19:04, 13. Robin Richardson 22:20, 14. Zach Richardson 22:36

3 miles — 1. Josiah Martin 17:29, 2. Jordan Strausbaugh 17:33, 3. Bill Wood 17:49, 4. Scott Michael 18:15, 5. Jacob Strausbaugh 18:16, 6. Sammy Anders 18:34, 7. Sean Goff 18:35, 8. Jeff Helminiak 19:33, 9. Susan Craig 19:39, 10. Mallory Millay, 19:51, 11. Zeek Miller 19:56, 12. Adam Anders 20:12, 13. Ben Buersma 20:21, 14. Hunter Richardson 21:08, 15.Elias Wheeler 21:11, 16.Carl Kincaid 21:47, 17. Corbin Crisp 21:47, 18. Amanda Millay 22:05, 19. Danny Anders 22:20, 20. Nikki Dixon 22:41, 21. Kyle McNally 22:52, 22. Cade Dickey 23:29, 23. Alyssa Frothingham 23:39, 24. Kristy Miller 23:46, 25. Stacey Tronnier 24:36.

26. Liam Peck 24:36, 27. Collin Peck 24:36, 28. Nataleigh Shane 24:56, 29. Taleasha Shane 24:58, 30. Karalyn Veihdeffer 25:37, 31. Colton Huffer 25:39, 32. Andrew Miller 25:39, 33. Eliza Anders 25:51, 34. Eli Edmunds 25:53, 35. Tommy Johnson 26:01, 36. Ryan Lindstrom 26:10, 37. Sheilah-Margaret Pothast 26:20, 38. John Pothast 26:20, 39. Logan McKay 26:22, 40. Alyssa McDonald 27:59, 41. Courtney Galloway 28:25, 42. Willow Graham 28:25, 43. Maria Sweppy 28:39, 44. Chase Johnson 28:54, 45. Rowan Peck 29:32, 46. Kelli Stroh 30:42, 47. Sara Buersma 30:42, 48. Katherine Ebenezer 31:02, 49. Jaxson Ebenezer 31:02, 50. Corbin Ebenezer 31:02.

51. Brandi Peck 31:28, 52.Trenton Peck 31:30, 53. Hannah Anders 33:02, 54. Nadia Anders 33:02, 55. Mason Bock 33:31, 56. Karen Sloggins 35:34, 57. Bentley Elmore 38:00, 58. Raven Cervantes 40:37, 59. Marli Peterson 41:12, 60. Donna Peterson 41:12, 61. Lana Metcalf 42:43, 62. Lacey Stock 43:18, 63. Kendra Blanners 43:53, 64. Jean Gdula 43:53, 65. Hudson Metcalf 44:14

Willow Graham, Courtney Galloway and Maria Sweppy run the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Willow Graham, Courtney Galloway and Maria Sweppy run the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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