Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Service High School varsity runner Bryn Waite (right) attempts to pass a pack from West Valley High School during the Tsalteshi Invitational Cross Country race at Skyview High School on Saturday, August 22.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Service High School varsity runner Bryn Waite (right) attempts to pass a pack from West Valley High School during the Tsalteshi Invitational Cross Country race at Skyview High School on Saturday, August 22.

Gerlach, Jordan reign at Tsalteshi Invitational

Glennallen junior Briahna Gerlach and Chugiak senior Ty Jordan were the first to step into the void left by the graduation of Kenai Central’s Allie Ostrander and Kodiak’s Levi Thomet on Saturday at the 26th running of the Tsalteshi Invitational.

Ostrander had won four straight Tsalteshi Invites and three straight Class 4A titles, while Thomet was at three straight in both the Tsalteshi Invite and Class 4A titles.

But Gerlach and Jordan were both second at Tsalteshi one year ago, and both proved their superiority to the field on a sunny day in the 70s where even the trees in the rolling hills outside of Soldotna were betraying little hint of a dwindling summer.

Gerlach, who won Class 1-2-3A state titles in her first two years, still has a chance of doing something even Ostrander and Thomet never did, and that’s win four straight state titles. Only Kodiak’s Kristy Klinnert and Seward’s Emily Ransom have accomplished that feat.

With some of her top Class 1-2-3A competition not present, Gerlach said it was too early to start thinking about state. She was just happy to take the lead from the start against a field including most of the largest schools in the state, and hold that lead until the finish.

She won at 18 minutes, 41 seconds. That’s nine seconds better than her time last year and 27 better than runner-up Molly Gellert of West.

“I was really nervous at first with all the big schools here,” Gerlach said. “It helped me run faster than I would have ran.”

Gerlach visited Tsalteshi this summer while at the Solid Rock Bible Camp running camp, but that didn’t stop her from a nearly disastrous mistake at the one-kilometer mark, where she said she almost took a wrong turn.

“I walked the course yesterday with a friend, but I wasn’t really paying attention,” she said.

While Gerlach held the lead, there was plenty of shuffling going on behind her. Gellert, a sophomore, came from third place midway through the race to take second.

Gellert didn’t race at Tsalteshi her freshman year due to shinsplints, then went on to finish 11th at state. She pushed around South’s Morgan Lash, who was third at state last year and seventh Saturday, at the 3K mark but never really had a moment where she thought she would catch Gerlach.

“I trained with the Alaska Winter Stars this summer, and we did a lot of running — a lot more than usual — but I really didn’t know what to expect,” she said.

Behind Gellert, a pack of five girls sprinted to the finish. The five ended up being separated by just two seconds — Palmer’s Rudy Woodings at 19:32, Kenai’s Riana Boonstra at 19:32, Kenai’s Jaycie Calvert at 19:33, Colony’s Jill Bowker at 19:34 and Lash at 19:34.

Boonstra, a sophomore who was 28th at Tsalteshi last year, said Calvert caught her with a kilometer to go. That pack then carried her to the finish.

“It was a really encouraging race,” Boonstra said. “We were able to push each other to some faster times.”

Soldotna senior Olivia Hutchings, who was fifth at Tsalteshi last season and second at state, passed out at the 1K mark. She was walking around afterward, but it followed a collapse at the finish line in Monday’s Nikiski Class Races so Soldotna coach Ted McKenney said there is obvious concern.

“We’ll have to find out what’s going on with her,” he said.

Chugiak was the top girls team with 71 points, while Colony at 100 and West Valley at 114 followed.

The boys race was controlled by Jordan. Like Gerlach, Jordan had spent some time at Tsalteshi this summer, finishing third in a Salmon Run Series race on July 22. He was down in Kasilof set-netting with his friend Roan Hall.

Jordan had about a 10-second lead by the midway point of Saturday’s race, but runner-up Gus Schumacher, a sophomore from Service, had caught Jordan by the 4K mark.

“I’m pretty physically tired from training,” Jordan said. “Once I saw him, I allowed him to catch up. I figured it would help push him in, and it would be nice having somebody to run with.”

Even Schumacher said he thought Jordan was in control of the race. Jordan said his main focus this season is doing well at Nike Cross Nationals. His winning time of 16:00 was seven seconds slower than last year. Schumacher was at 16:04, while defending 1-2-3A champ Kaleb Korta was third at 16:08.

“It seemed like he was playing with me,” Schumacher said of Jordan. “It was nice that he could kick me in.”

Making Jordan even tougher to beat is his love of heat.

“Our team will all go out for a run in weather like this and they’ll all be complaining,” he said. “I’ll still be in a sweatshirt and be saying, ‘Come on guys, this isn’t that bad.’”

Like Gellert, Schumacher said he got a fitness boost this summer from training with the Alaska Winter Stars and coach Jan Buron. Schumacher was 50 seconds faster at Tsalteshi this year.

“The Service coaches did a good job tuning me up for the race, and my teammates were there to help me on the course,” he said.

The Kenai girls finished fifth in the girls race and 17th in the boys race. The top boys finisher was Karl Danielson in 79th at 18:32.

“We all feel really good about our places and times,” Kenai coach Maria Calvert said. “We just have to keep working hard every day.”

Soldotna was 12th on the girls side and 14th on the boys side. The top girls finisher was Molly Erickson in 47th at 21:22, and the top boys finisher was Aaron Swedberg in 41st at 17:43.

McKenney said the results weren’t where he was expecting them, but he would have to look at the times to see if his teams were off, or if the rest of the state is just running faster this year.

“We’ll regroup and do what we need to do to improve,” he said.

Although this race doesn’t feature a ton of small schools, Homer was the top 1-2-3A squad in both the girls and boys races, even beating out powerhouse Grace Christian.

Megan Pitzman was ninth in 19:54 in the girls race, with Gerlach being the lone 1-2-3A runner to beat her to the line.

Jared Brant was the top Peninsula boys finisher, taking 31st in 17:24. Homer coach Bill Steyer also was happy that Jordan Beachy ran a 17:31 in the community race. He will join the team when he has enough practices.

“It went really well,” Steyer said. “I’m pleased with both teams.”


2015 Tsalteshi Invitational


Team scores: 1. Chugiak, 71; 2. Colony, 100; 3. West Valley, 114; 4. Service, 117; 5. Kenai Central, 120; 6. Homer, 135; 7. West, 150; 8. South, 155; 9. Eagle River, 187; 10. Dimond, 283; 11. Kodiak, 288; 12. Soldotna, 291; 13. Grace, 348; 14. East, 377; 15. Wasilla, 405; 16. Bethel, 460.

1. Briahna Gerlach, Glennallen 18:41; 2. Molly Gellert, West Anchorage 19:08; 3. Ruby Woodings, Palmer 19:32; 4. Riana Boonstra, Kenai Central 19:32; 5. Jaycie Calvert, Kenai Central 19:33; 6. Jill Bowker, Colony 19:34; 7. Morgan Lash, South Anchorage 19:34; 8. Emma Sees, Chugiak 19:48; 9. Megan Pitzman, Homer 19:54; 10. Emma Nelson, Chugiak 19:57; 11. Hannah Booher, Chugiak 19:59; 12. KayLee Manwaring, Chugiak 20:03; 13. Kylie Judd, Dimond 20:04; 14. Jordyn Block, Colony 20:04; 15. Grace Marks, West Valley 20:15; 16. Ithaca Bergholtz, Kenai Central 20:17; 17. Bryn Waite, Service 20:20; 18. Cathelyne Powers, Colony 20:23; 19. Sam Starks, West Valley 20:26; 20. Peyton Young, Eagle River 20:27; 21. Fiona Fick, West Anchorage 20:29; 22. Nichole Blake, Service 20:31; 23. Faith Widman, West Valley 20:31; 24. Aislinn Waite, Service 20:35; 25. Sarah Souders, Service 20:35.

26. Paige McManus, Eagle River 20:35; 27. Addison Gibson, Kenai Central 20:36; 28. Zoe Bigley, Kodiak 20:37; 29. Alex Mosley, Homer 20:39; 30. Elisabeth Bowker, Colony 20:45; 31. Audrey Rosencrans, Homer 20:46; 32. Ziza Shemet Pitcher, Homer 20:52; 33. Brooke Gottmeier, West Valley 20:53; 34. Jenna Difolco, West Valley 20:54; 35. Maggie Meeds, South Anchorage 20:55; 36. Cinnamon Monterrosa, West Anchorage 21:07; 37. Kaitlyn Bailly, South Anchorage 21:11; 38. Summer Frazier, Eagle River 21:11; 39. Grace Trimborn, Service 21:13; 40. Clare Cook, Chugiak 21:15; 41. Hannah Brown, South Anchorage 21:18; 42. Lisbeth Olsen, Colony 21:19; 43. Helen Wilson, Eagle River 21:19; 44. Aurora Waclawski, Homer 21:21; 45. Allie Monrean, South Anchorage 21:21; 46. Elena Eberhardt, South Anchorage 21:21; 47. Molly Erickson, Soldotna 21:22; 48. Alison Van Pelt, Houston 21:27; 49. Jania Tumey, West Anchorage 21:29; 50. Bailey Roe, West Valley 21:36.

51. Grace Annett, Grace Christian 21:36; 52. Claire Howard, Service 21:37; 53. Rya Berrigan, Palmer 21:38; 54. Tatiana Harris, West Anchorage 21:39; 55. Melissa De Guzman, Kodiak 21:43; 56. Margeaux Bailey, East Anchorage 21:45; 57. Lauren Evarts, Homer 21:49; 58. Alejandra Legate, West Anchorage 21:50; 59. Caitlin Bergman, South Anchorage 21:52; 60. Mary Burr, East Anchorage 21:53; 61. Carlie Gellert, West Anchorage 21:54; 62. Daisy Nelson, Soldotna 21:56; 63. Darby Judd, Dimond 21:59; 64. Emily Werner, Soldotna 22:04; 65. Honey Rose Macatuno, Kodiak 22:12; 66. Zoe Ratzlaff, West Valley 22:12; 67. Hannah Pothast, Soldotna 22:13; 68. Arielle Himelbloom, Kodiak 22:13; 69. Kellie Arthur, Soldotna 22:17; 70. Sarah Newton, Grace Christian 22:24; 71. Jordan Burroughs, Wasilla 22:26; 72. Dani Owens, Eagle River 22:26; 73. Tessa Heagy, Eagle River 22:26; 74. Ruth Cvancara, Dimond 22:30; 75. Allison Shafer, Dimond 22:33.

76. Amy Baxter, Palmer 22:41; 77. Liesel Von Imhof, Dimond 22:41; 78. Katie Davis, Homer 22:42; 79. Emma Ostberg, Dimond 22:44; 80. Jenna Markel, Grace Christian 22:47; 81. Brooke Satathite, Kenai Central 22:47; 82. Riley McLellan, Wasilla 22:48; 83. Charlee Demientieff, Grace Christian 22:52; 84. Brynn Morse, East Anchorage 22:54; 85. Haley O’Brien, Bethel 22:55; 86. Maddy Morgan, Grace Christian 23:02; 87. Alyson Kopsack, Colony 23:05; 88. Alex Mathis, Colony 23:07; 89. Kasey Paxton, Kenai Central 23:13; 90. Maclaren Obremski, Wasilla 23:14; 91. Raen Barcelon, Kodiak 23:15; 92. Carissa Vasquez, Wasilla 23:17; 93. Brianna Levy, East Anchorage 23:22; 94. Amanda Wolverton, Wasilla 24:13; 95. Eva Bingham, Palmer 24:13; 96. Gloria Jacobsen, Glennallen 24:16; 97. Fiona Boze, Soldotna 24:18; 98. Gracie Minnick, Wasilla 24:24; 99. Sarah Brown, Galena 24:29; 100. Dorothy Bukowski, Bethel 24:31.

101. Maddie Christiansen, Kodiak 24:31; 102. Amber Wade, Bethel 24:33; 103. Sophie Swope, Bethel 24:35; 104. Mikaela Salzetti, Kenai Central 24:41; 105. Sage Romey, Service 25:02; 106. Lynn Schaeffer, Kotzebue 25:08; 107. Katy Merioles, Valdez 25:11; 108. Miranda Eakin, Kotzebue 25:34; 109. Kayla Munday, Wasilla 25:40; 110. Sophie Poe, Bethel 25:49; 111. Sara Hartke, Chugiak 25:51; 112. Henrietta Nicholai, Kuskokwim Learning A 25:57; 113. Myah Smith, Eagle River 26:24; 114. Moira Sheldon, Kotzebue 27:16; 115. Caitlyn Mond, Valdez 27:25; 116. Ellie Gebhardt, Kotzebue 28:12; 117. Kelina Polushkin, Voznesenka 28:56; 118. Dominique Alex, Valdez 29:32; 119. Emily Ellis, East Anchorage 31:33; 120. Brenda Woods, Kuskokwim Learning A 31:37.


Team scores: 1. West Valley, 62; 2. West Anchorage, 94; 3. Service, 106; 4. South, 136; 5. Kodiak, 143; 6. Chugiak, 194; 7. Homer, 244; 8. Grace Christian, 255; 9. Eagle River, 255; 10. Bartlett, 271; 11. Wasilla, 276; 12. Colony, 284; 13. Dimond, 303; 14. Soldotna, 303; 15. East, 359; 16. Palmer, 385; 17. Kenai Central, 497; 18. Kotzebue, 518; 19. Bethel, 605.

Individual 5K results

1. Ty Jordan, Chugiak 16:00; 2. Gus Schumacher, Service 16:04; 3. Kaleb Korta, Galena 16:08; 4. Finn Walker, West Anchorage 16:11; 5. Keith Osowski, Kodiak 16:24; 6. Ti Donaldson, West Valley 16:25; 7. Tracen Knopp, Colony 16:36; 8. Derek Steele, South Anchorage 16:37; 9. Riley Howard, Service 16:46; 10. Jacob Walsh, Eagle River 16:46; 11. Aaron Bravo, West Valley 16:48; 12. Spencer Herron, West Valley 16:53; 13. Luke Meiwes, South Anchorage 16:54; 14. Michael Parnell, Kodiak 16:56; 15. Dakota Peterson, Colony 17:01; 16. Jacob Moos, Galena 17:02; 17. Luke Jager, West Anchorage 17:03; 18. Keel Simon, West Valley 17:03; 19. Nick Carl, Eagle River 17:04; 20. Jack Hannah, Kodiak 17:06; 21. Roan Hall, Chugiak 17:12; 22. Justin Hannah, West Valley 17:13; 23. Max Hartke, Chugiak 17:13; 24. Richie McKinney, Kodiak 17:16; 25. Rocky Schaefer, West Valley 17:19.

26. Joaquin Monterrosa, West Anchorage 17:19; 27. Brian Britt, West Anchorage 17:20; 28. Brennan Baumgartner, Service 17:21; 29. Brycen Lynch, West Anchorage 17:21; 30. Fintan Nakada, Service 17:22; 31. Jared Brant, Homer 17:24; 32. Hamish Wolfe, South Anchorage 17:26; 33. Isaac Larson, Bartlett 17:27; 34. Foster Birnbaum, West Anchorage 17:31; 35. Trent Fritzel, Grace Christian 17:33; 36. Isaak Bell, Wasilla 17:35; 37. Ryan Kavalok, Palmer 17:35; 38. Brian Durr, Bartlett 17:37; 39. Zephan Ozturgut, East Anchorage 17:39; 40. Karl Greathouse, Wasilla 17:42; 41. Aaron Swedberg, Soldotna 17:43; 42. Leif Mumma, Palmer 17:43; 43. Lyle Chamberlain, South Anchorage 17:44; 44. Justin Carpenter, Service 17:46; 45. Everett Darrow, West Valley 17:47; 46. Alex Schuerch, East Anchorage 17:50; 47. Dax Cvancara, Dimond 17:50; 48. Andrew Hull, South Anchorage 17:50; 49. Atticus Everett, West Anchorage 17:57; 50. Jack Divelbiss, Dimond 17:59.

51. Luciano Fasulo, Homer 18:01; 52. Charlie Menke, Homer 18:02; 53. David Michael, Soldotna 18:03; 54. Jacob Davis, Homer 18:03; 55. Nick Snow, Grace Christian 18:04; 56. Spencer Putnam, Grace Christian 18:07; 57. Luke Fritzel, Grace Christian 18:08; 58. Aden Haywood, East Anchorage 18:09; 59. Bailey Milani, Service 18:11; 60. Derek Stone, Dimond 18:11; 61. Hunter Thompson, Service 18:12; 62. Cameron Sheldon, Grace Christian 18:15; 63. Declan Reid, Bartlett 18:17; 64. Ryan Reid, Bartlett 18:19; 65. Kaleb Greathouse, Wasilla 18:20; 66. Denver Waclawski, Homer 18:21; 67. Kyler Mack, Dimond 18:21; 68. Koby Vinson, Soldotna 18:22; 69. Hayden Steiner, Wasilla 18:22; 70. Josh Shuler, Soldotna 18:23; 71. Mike Maddox, Eagle River 18:25; 72. Gabe Martin, Grace Christian 18:25; 73. Logan Borger, South Anchorage 18:25; 74. Quinn Carol, South Anchorage 18:26; 75. Jack Ginter, Chugiak 18:27.

76. McKinley Larson, Wasilla 18:27; 77. Thomas LaPlante, Eagle River 18:30; 78. Kaden Denton, Dimond 18:31; 79. Karl Danielson, Kenai Central 18:32; 80. Luke Mellor, Colony 18:34; 81. Levi Michael, Soldotna 18:34; 82. Charlie Latimer, Chugiak 18:35; 83. Jacob Obrigewitch, Bartlett 18:37; 84. Spencer Woods, Kotzebue 18:38; 85. Eugene Alexie, Kuskokwim Learning A 18:39; 86. Tristan Landry, Kenai Central 18:45; 87. Thorsten Warhus, Wasilla 18:46; 88. Gary Szekely, Eagle River 18:48; 89. Anthony Maghupoy, Kodiak 18:48; 90. Jeremy Kupferschmid, Soldotna 18:53; 91. Robert Haan, Colony 18:57; 92. Addison Downing, Soldotna 18:58; 93. Tobin Karlberg, Grace Christian 19:00; 94. Harry Baldwin, Kotzebue 19:01; 95. Gabe Nummer, Kodiak 19:02; 96. Jens Knutson, Houston 19:04; 97. Alex Gill, Dimond 19:04; 98. Bradan Tobin, Eagle River 19:05; 99. Rafael Bitanga, Kodiak 19:06; 100. Dexter Lowe, Homer 19:07.

101. Ryan Dearborn, Chugiak 19:07; 102. Sean Dorsey, Glennallen 19:07; 103. Josh Taylor, Colony 19:07; 104. Chase Rosenberg, Palmer 19:09; 105. Joshua Johnson, Eagle River 19:10; 106. Elan Carroll, Homer 19:12; 107. Greg Trail, Nikolaevsk 19:19; 108. Alek Heil, Dimond 19:20; 109. Sam Deering, Colony 19:22; 110. Julian Davis, Palmer 19:24; 111. Aaron Campbell, Wasilla 19:28; 112. Roy Taylor, Kenai Central 19:31; 113. Lev Robertson, Palmer 19:31; 114. Gary Eakin, Kotzebue 19:34; 115. Beck Haywood, East Anchorage 19:40; 116. Joe Apfelbeck, Galena 19:55; 117. Zeke Eakin, Kotzebue 19:55; 118. Cy Dull, Kenai Central 19:59; 119. Miles Dennis, Chugiak 20:00; 120. Isaac Smolden, Houston 20:03; 121. Joey Pabon, East Anchorage 20:04; 122. Jaylon Miller, East Anchorage 20:10; 123. Clevon Constantine, Bethel 20:15; 124. Richard Harris, Palmer 20:18; 125. Ben Mordue Swalling, Palmer 20:20.

126. Lawrence Poe, Bethel 20:24; 127. Erik Brainerd, East Anchorage 20:25; 128. Terry Jackson, Houston 20:31; 129. Mathew Torkelson, Kenai Central 20:36; 130. Cameron Westlake, Bartlett 20:54; 131. Rhett Jackson, Kuskokwim Learning A 21:04; 132. Ray Daniel, Bethel 21:12; 133. Alden Bookey, Kenai Central 21:43; 134. Seth Smith, Bethel 21:54; 135. Jaycob Goff, Kenai Central 21:55; 136. Gus Schumacher, Houston 22:02; 137. Darrell Garrison, Bethel 22:08; 138. Xavier Jones, Kotzebue 22:48; 139. Salix Woodgate, Valdez 22:59; 140. Evan Bruso, Bartlett 23:07; 141. James Hancock, Valdez 23:13; 142. Jacob Francis, Valdez 27:24.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central High School runner Ithaca Bergholtz approaches the finish line of the Tsalteshi Invitational cross-country race at the Skyview High School on Saturday, August 22.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central High School runner Ithaca Bergholtz approaches the finish line of the Tsalteshi Invitational cross-country race at the Skyview High School on Saturday, August 22.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Colony High School varsity runner Luke Mellor approaches a downhill stretch of the race course during the Tsalteshi Invitational Cross Country race at Skyview High School on Saturday, August 22.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Colony High School varsity runner Luke Mellor approaches a downhill stretch of the race course during the Tsalteshi Invitational Cross Country race at Skyview High School on Saturday, August 22.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Varsity runner Cameron Sheldon of Grace Christian High School runs the Tsalteshi Invitational Cross Country race at Skyview High School on Saturday, August 22.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Varsity runner Cameron Sheldon of Grace Christian High School runs the Tsalteshi Invitational Cross Country race at Skyview High School on Saturday, August 22.

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