Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna swimmer Jacob Creglow swims in the Soldotna Pentathlon at Soldotna High School on Friday, Sept. 26.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna swimmer Jacob Creglow swims in the Soldotna Pentathlon at Soldotna High School on Friday, Sept. 26.

Kodiak swimmers claim SoHi Pentathlon crowns

Friday afternoon’s 34th Annual SoHi Pentathlon at Soldotna High School meet featured a little bit of new and a little bit of old.

The new was Kodiak sophomore Marina Cummisky snapping a four-year streak of Lindquists owning the girls Pentathlon challenge, as Jori and Tahna Lindquist combined to win every year since 2011. Both Lindquist sisters are now graduated.

The old was Kodiak continuing its dominance in the meet, as Cummisky was joined by Bears teammate Talon Lindquist, who defended his boys Pentathlon title from last year, although maybe that could be included with the new, since Talon is still only a sophomore.

The blue wet stuff at the SoHi pool may belong to the Stars, but their big blue rivals from the south continued to flaunt their dominance on the Peninsula. Kodiak won the boys team title with 50 points, seven ahead of runner-up Soldotna, while Colony took the girls team title with 47 points, 10 better than second-place Soldotna.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Cummisky said. “It’s a great meet.”

The SoHi Pentathlon, a favorite of racers due to its rare format, features a change of pace from the usual high school meets that swimmers and divers are faced with on a weekly basis. Boys and girls compete in five different races over the course of the day — the 100-yard medley, the 50 butterfly, the 50 backstroke, the 50 breaststroke and the 50 freestyle. The overall champion is the racer that holds the lowest cumulative time between all five races.

Cummisky won four of the five girls races to claim the overall Pentathlon title with a time of 3 minutes, 5.65 seconds. Soldotna’s Claire McElroy emerged as the only other race winner Friday, taking the 50-yard breaststroke in a time of 33.47 seconds.

“I knew I was going to have to push it in the other races to make up for (the breaststroke),” Cummisky said. “The last time I swam breaststroke was at last year’s Pentathlon. I’m not a breaststroker.”

Cummisky finished ninth in the breaststroke, 2.81 seconds behind race winner McElroy, but her dominant swimming in the other four events ensured her the overall title. Palmer senior Millie Snelders finished second overall, a total of 2.41 seconds behind Cummisky, and Homer’s Lauren Kuhns earned the bronze in 3:09.70. Kuhns moved up from an 11th-place finish last year.

Cummisky had overlooked Snelders, one of her closest competitors, before seeing her name on the heat sheet.

“Coming into the meet, I thought she had already graduated,” Cummisky said. “I was looking at (Colony’s) Camille Dayton, but then I saw Millie and I knew she was going to be close.”

Cummisky said the final race, the 50 free, felt like her strongest event. Cummisky’s time of 25.95 seconds was nearly half a second ahead of her closest competition, Snelders.

After seeing senior Tahna Lindquist tick off win after win in swim meets last year, Cummisky said the success of her former teammates has spurred her to be greater in every aspect of the sport. Ila Hughes and Brittany Horn were also a part of the strong Kodiak girls contingent that graduated last May.

“(Tahna) was awesome,” Cummisky said. “She would give you tips on your turns and strokes.”

Portia Padilla provided Soldotna its top finish in the girls competition, finishing sixth with a time of 3:13.61, and was followed by two more teammates in seventh (Sydney Juliussen) and eighth (McElroy).

Mikaela Pitsch was the highest placer from Kenai Central, finishing 25th with a time of 3:32.25.

On the boys side, Talon Lindquist claimed three of the five races to win the boys pentathlon in 2:35.03, over five seconds over second-place Jake Simmons of Colony and almost six seconds over Soldotna junior Cody Watkins.

Lindquist has been battling a shoulder ailment most of the summer, and was nursing his left shoulder with an ice pack after the meet ended.

“I had to take a good portion of the summer off, because it just wasn’t working,” Lindquist said. “There were a couple practices where I saw my teammates swimming and having fun, and I had to do my own thing and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Lindquist began the day with a dominant win in the boys 100 IM, grabbing a 2.46-second lead with a winning time of 54.27 seconds. Lindquist then added wins in the 50 back and 50 breaststroke events to claim the overall title, although he knew he had company with Simmons and Watkins.

“I knew Cody was there the whole time, but it was hard to see him,” Lindquist said. “Jake was to my right, so I could physically see him, and that helped me push harder, knowing how close he was.”

After finishing 14th in 2013 and sixth last year, Watkins took third on the strength of two race wins — the 50 butterfly with a time of 24.11 seconds (0.16 faster than Lindquist) and the 50 free with a time of 22.25 seconds (0.33 faster than Lindquist).

Watkins said that while a meet like the SoHi Pentathlon can potentially wear on some swimmers as five races in a row has the tendency to do, he continued to feel stronger with each passing race.

“The more I got in the pool, the better I felt,” Watkins said. “I’ve never had one of those days.”

Watkins received the opportunity this summer to train at a swimming camp in Jacksonville, Florida, for four weeks with his family. With the high school swimming season now in full force, his strong form has surprised even himself. Watkins finished .43 seconds behind runner-up Jake Simmons of Colony.

“It was really until last year that I stepped up to their level,” Watkins said. “I just keep remembering back to when I started, I was like the slowest kid.”

Watkins was joined by Stars teammates Jacob Creglow in fifth (2:46.56), Jacob Hall in 10th (2:49.50) and David Hall in 11th (2:50.11).

Kenai’s top boys swimmer was Savaii Heaven in 19th (3:02.06).

The SoHi senior added that while his strength lies in freestyle, he was encouraged by his other race finishes.

“It shows who’s really good at what,” Watkins said. “It wears you out a little bit, but the adrenaline just washes it away anyway.”

With all team members enjoying a large potluck dinner in the SoHi commons area at the conclusion of the final race, the excitement and enthusiasm overflowed between the schools.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Lindquist said. “There’s no pressure on anyone, so we’re having fun, and in between events we’re cheering for each other, and afterwards we all have a potluck.”

Soldotna Quad

Soldotna claimed several victories Saturday at the SoHi pool at the Quad meet, which featured SoHi, Kodiak, Colony, Wasilla, Palmer and Unalaska.

Cody Watkins took individual wins in the boys 100-yard butterfly and 200 freestyle races, then joined Jacob Hall, David Hall and Jacob Creglow to win the boys 400-yard freestyle and the 200 freestyle relays. The Stars “B” team also finished second in the 400 free relay.

David Hall also took individual wins in the boys 100 and 50-yard free races.

On the girls side, SoHi got individual wins from Sydney Juliussen (girls 100 and 50 free events), Claire McElroy (100 breaststroke), and Rachel Davidson (100 backstroke).

34th SoHi Pentathlon

Friday at SoHi pool

BOYS

Team scores — 1. Kodiak, 50 points; 2. Soldotna, 43; 3. Colony, 32; 4. Homer, 12; 4. Palmer, 12; 6. Wasilla, 6.

Top 10 individual results — 1. Talon Lindquist, Kod, 2:35.03; 2. Jake Simmons, Col, 2:40.50; 3. Cody Watkins, Sol, 2:40.93; 4. Joseph Anderson, Col, 2:44.89; 5. Jacob Creglow, Sol, 2:46.56; 6. Luke James, Kod, 2:46.73; 7. Max Snelders, Pal, 2:47.19; 8. Sergius Hannan, Hom, 2:47.78; 9. Nathan Schauff, Kod, 2:48.19; 10. Jacob Hall, Sol, 2:49.50.

Other Peninsula finishers — 11. David Hall, Sol, 2:50.11; 16. Remi Nagle, Hom, 2:58.60; 17. Griffin Downey, Hom, 2:59.03; 19. Savaii Heaven, Ken, 3:02.06; 32. Theodore Castellani, Hom, 3:15.31; 33. Caleb Frederickson, Sol, 3:15.39; 36. Teddy Handley, Hom, 3:18.84; 40. Zion Alioto, Ken, 3:23.71; 45. Kane Graham, Hom, 3:27.74; 48. Roma Hamner, Sew, 3:30.53; 49. Eric Kempf, Ken, 3:31.95; 50. Jake Nelson, Hom, 3:34.22; 52. Will Gross, Sol, 3:38.07; 55. Connor Gross, Sol, 3:41.23; 60. Blake Hill, Hom, 3:47.73; 63. Hale Wilkinson, Hom, 3:52.50; 66. Hayden Chase, Hom, 4:39.84; 67. Hyram Dory, Hom, 4:53.90.

GIRLS

Team scores — 1. Colony, 47 points; 2. Soldotna, 37; 3. Kodiak, 36; 4. Palmer, 19; 5. Homer, 16.

Top 10 individual results — 1. Marina Cummiskey, Kod, 3:05.65; 2. Millie Snelders, Pal, 3:08.06; 3. Lauren Kuhns, Hom, 3:09.70; 4. Camille Dayton, Col, 3:09.72; 5. Yanne Toussaint, Col, 3:10.61; 6. Portia Padilla, Sol, 3:13.61; 7. Sydney Juliussen, Sol, 3:13.78; 8. Claire McElroy, Sol, 3:15.20; 9. Hannah Glover, Kod, 3:19.15; 10. Sarah Crosley, Col, 3:20.06.

Other Peninsula finishers — 16. Madelyn Brennan, Sol, 3:25.93; 17. Rachel Davidson, Sol, 3:27.17; 19. Darby McMillan, Sol, 3:27.79; 20. Emily Boone, Sol, 3:30.90; 24. Alia Bales, Hom, 3:32.08; 25. Mikaela Pitsch, Ken, 3:32.25; 28. Faith Ivy, 3:33.53; 35. Desiree Barbaza, Ken, 3:39.72; 37. Amanda Eby, Sol, 3:41.82; 39. Lia Jacobsen, Hom, 3:42.70; 41. Olivia Brewer, Ken, 3:45.13; 47. Hannah Janecek, Ken, 3:47.39; 50. Madeleine Michaud, Ken, 3:50.65; 55. Solstice Kraszeski, Hom, 4:02.86; 59. Megan Koster, Sew, 4:18.89; 61. Sara Faris, Sol, 4:20.81; 62. Mickinzie Ticknor, Ken, 4:25.56; 63. Haley Trefon, Sol, 4:26.42; 64. McKinley Sorhus, Ken, 4:29.31; 65. Ruth Frederickson, Sol, 4:29.74; 66. Hope Quinn, Sew, 5:05.03.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Swimmers dive into the pool during the Soldotna Pentathlon at Soldotna High School on Friday, Sept. 26.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Swimmers dive into the pool during the Soldotna Pentathlon at Soldotna High School on Friday, Sept. 26.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Homer swimmer Griffin Downey swims in the Soldotna Pentathlon at Soldotna High School on Friday, Sept. 26.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Homer swimmer Griffin Downey swims in the Soldotna Pentathlon at Soldotna High School on Friday, Sept. 26.

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