Small-schools: Homer girls take state XC crown

Small-schools: Homer girls take state XC crown

Saturday saw a number of winning and losing streaks busted in the sports world.

No, not college football. High school cross-country running.

The Homer girls ended a 24-year winless drought at Saturday’s Class 1-2-3A state meet with a team championship, beating out Seward and the defending champions Grace Christian, who consequently lost a six-year winning streak at the state meet.

The Mariners put all five scoring runners in the top 15, leaving them with a low of 29 points to steamroll the competition, as Seward scored 68 and Grace scored 108.

Sophomore Megan Pitzman led the charge with a runner-up result and a personal best time of 18 minutes, 58 seconds, over the five-kilometer course, only eight seconds behind winner Briahna Gerlach of Glennallen, who won her second straight Class 1-2-3A crown.

“It was already cool for us to have the region title, and state, that’s all we’ve been working towards,” Pitzman said. “We knew that it was achievable.”

After beating Grace to the team title at the Region III meet last week, Mariners coach Bill Steyer knew his squad could finish the job at state, and once all his runners were across the line, he knew the result.

“We got it,” he said confidently in the postrace scrum.

Following behind Pitzman was junior Molly Mitchell in fourth, with a time of 19:14. Aurora Waclawski was ninth, freshman Alex Mosley placed 11th and Lauren Evarts came home 15th.

Mitchell, who bested her state finish of sixth last year, said she was proud to be able to help her team to the title, which she said will look nice alongside the name of former Homer running phenom Beth Ladd in the school.

“She’s on everything!” Mitchell exclaimed, referring to Ladd. “She’s on all the records!

“But it’s really exciting, because we’ve really seen the team develop over the last three years. Bill has brought it together after having close to nothing since Beth Ladd.”

To put the team championship in perspective, every member of the Homer girls were a solid seven years from being born since the last time the Mariners won the crown.

Pitzman said she felt relieved to see her team win, after all the months and years of training the squad has put in, including a few trips to Oregon to get in some high-altitude work.

“We all knew that we had to take off faster than we had been in other races,” Pitzman said. “I feel like it helped me, because rather than getting stuck in the back and having to catch up, I was right there.”

Pitzman said even though she was close to Gerlach, she was still happy with second.

“I’m happy with it because it’s an improvement from last year. I wasn’t 100 percent expecting it because those other girls have faster times than me.”

Mitchell added that the extra work in the offseason paid off.

“It’s really cool to be that close to the front of the pack,” she said. “It gave me a lot of freedom to run my own race.”

About 45 minutes later, a similar scene was playing out for the Seward boys.

The Seward boys haven’t won a team title since 2004, while the Seward girls are winless since 2007.

Saturday, both squads came up short with second-place finishes, but it felt like victory for both. The Seward boys had beaten a short-handed Grace squad at the region meet.

“(Grace was) missing their No. 1 and No. 4 guys, so we won pretty big,” said Seward coach Dan Marshall. “But we hadn’t beaten them at full strength yet, so we were just going for it today.”

Sophomore Hunter Kratz led the Seward boys with a third-place finish in a time of 17:03, and senior teammate Michael Marshall took fifth in 17:14.

The teamwork of the Seahawks was evident after the boys race, when Marshall embraced Kratz in an emotional hug. Both said that when the race was done, it finally dawned on them that the two close friends would miss the company of the team in practices and races.

“Every day this year, it’s just been me and Hunter out there, step for step, doing repeats,” Marshall said. “And after a full two seasons of that, you just get attached. I don’t want to go and run in college without him.”

“He’s like a brother to me, so it’s tough knowing this is his last race,” added Kratz.

Kaleb Korta of Galena won the boys event with a time of 16:35, and as the class of the field, both Seward athletes acknowledged that catching Korta would be a tough task.

“We wanted to come onto the field (at halfway) around 10th place, and I think we were about eighth, and the plan from then on was to pick them off,” Kratz said.

Marshall added that the Seahawks were deliberate in their attempt to start slow but finish fast.

“Our strategy worked,” Marshall said. “Everybody at state always bombs the start, so we had a lot of nervous energy trying to hold back at first.”

Coach Marshall, the father of Michael, said that trying to beat Grace Christian again, one week after doing so at the Region III meet, was a challenge, since the Grizzlies were competing without two key athletes a week ago.

“But when you’re running for your teammates, you can find reserves that you never thought you had,” Marshall said.

Marshall said that in the time that he has spent in the sport of running, he has seen a good number of high-caliber runners come and go, but it never fails to amaze him the sportsmanship that competitors give each other. There was no better example Saturday when Kratz walked over to shake each Grace runner’s hand.

“I’ve been coaching for 23 years, so my sons were born into this,” Marshall said. “In 1996 at Palmer, when Michael was just a few months old, and my wife was carrying him around at the state race, we won the state race in the boys and the girls that day. So he’s been here since day one.

“I’m real happy for him today, he had a great race, but I’m also real sad.”


2014 ASAA First National Bank Alaska Cross-Country State Championships

Saturday, at Bartlett Running Trails

Class 1-2-3A girls

Team scores: 1. Homer, 29; 2. Seward, 68; 3. Grace, 108; 4. ACS, 126; 5. Mt. Edgecumbe, 143; 6. Petersburg, 158; 7. Wrangell, 188; 8. Barrow, 206; 9. Hutchison, 219; 10. Bethel, 229; 11. Unalaska, 285; 12. Eielson, 304.

Individual 5K results

1. Briahna Gerlach, Glennallen 18:50 2. Megan Pitzman, Homer 18:58 3. Taylee Nyquest, Thorne Bay 19:09 4. Molly Mitchell, Homer 19:14 5. Ruby Lindquist, Seward 19:42 6. Brook Wedin, Seward 19:42 7. Sara Hamberger, Cordova 19:49 8. Cheyenne Applegate, Grace Christian 20:14 9. Aurora Waclawski, Homer 20:34 10. Alaina Wolgemuth, Barrow 20:34 11. Alex Mosley, Homer 20:37 12. Tanner Ealum, ACS 20:43 13. Tessa O’Hara, ACS 20:43 14. Elizabeth Balsan, ACS 20:57 15. Lauren Evarts, Homer 21:01 16. Alice Pfeiffenberg, Seward 21:02 17. Harmony Wayner, Grace Christian 21:05 18. Amy Jenson, Wrangell 21:06 19. Aziza Shemet Pitch, Homer 21:07 20. Reyn Hutten, Wrangell 21:08 21. Jo Zaczkowski, Mt. Edgecumbe 21:21 22. Melissa Nicely, Barrow 21:26 23. Grace Moore, Hutchison 21:31 24. Gloria Jacobsen, Glennallen 21:33 25. Shandel Pingayak, Mt. Edgecumbe 21:42 26. Ellie Bietsch, Su-Valley 21:45 27. Ashley Guernsey, Seward 21:48 28. Amy Hatter, Grace Christian 21:56 29. Haley Knott, Homer 21:57 30. Victoria Joslin, Delta 21:57 31. Julia Murph, Petersburg 22:02 32. Whitney McArthur, Sitka 22:04 33. EmmaLee Moore, Seward 22:06 34. Sarah Brown, Galena 22:09 35. Hanna Jayne, Mekoryuk 22:16 36. Brittany Woods-Orriso, Mt. Edgecumbe 22:22 37. Katrina Wood, Grace Christian 22:28 38. Haley O’Brien, Bethel 22:31 39. Margaret Chayalkun, Chevak 22:34 40. Kayleigh Eddy, Petersburg 22:34 41. Chloe Gardner, Sand Point 22:36 42. Hannah Pfundt, Petersburg 22:41 43. Bernadette Hartley, Su-Valley 22:42 44. Makayla Newman, Petersburg 22:43 45. Kimberly Cooper, Wrangell 22:44 46. Ashlyn Luckhurst, Mt. Edgecumbe 22:47 47. Christine Buffas, Nome 22:48 48. Grace Naneng, Hooper Bay 22:50 49. Josephine Braun, Seward 22:53 50. Kate McWilliams, Bethel 22:54 51. Iris Anderson, Seward 22:56 52. Alecia Barlow, Craig 22:58 53. Allie Jarvis, Grace Christian 23:03 54. Haley Spencer, Hutchison 23:08 55. Tavifa Timoshenko, Delta 23:08 56. Madisyn Parker, Petersburg 23:17 57. Brianna Hernandez, Eielson 23:17 58. Ivory Okleasik, Nome 23:17 59. Mary Fiskeaux, Nome 23:19 60. Cora Farrell, Hutchison 23:26 61. Laura Ekada, Mt. Edgecumbe 23:31 62. Christian Escalante, Unalaska 23:32 63. Hannah Berkoski, Dillingham 23:33 64. Becca Land, ACS 23:35 65. Chloe Mongoyak-Bro, Barrow 23:36 66. Jasmine Jemewouk, Mt. Edgecumbe 23:37 67. Kestrel Gilliam, Su-Valley 23:37 68. Amber Wade, Bethel 23:39 69. Erin Pfundt, Petersburg 23:39 70. Mariah Wigley, Galena 23:41 71. Alex Durazo, Grace Christian 23:41 72. Courtney Mitchell, ACS 23:46 73. Anna Jarvis, Grace Christian 23:52 74. Bianca Trowbridge, Nome 23:55 75. Emily McArthur, Dillingham 23:58 76. Esther Rivers, Scammon Bay 24:03 77. Calia Sieh, Kotzebue 24:03 78. Carmella Flynn, Hutchison 24:16 79. Megan Hickman, Nikolaevsk 24:18 80. Iri Hailstone, Noorvik 24:19 81. Alana Ulak, St. Mary’s 24:19 82. Cecily Nicoll, Effie Kokrine 24:28 83. Shelby McCahon, Eielson 24:39 84. Kara Andrews, New Stuyahok 24:40 85. Anikan Peniptchuk, Shaktoolik 24:41 86. Amelia Napper, Unalaska 24:44 87. Alanna Kochuten, Unalaska 24:47 88. Sophie Swope, Bethel 24:50 89. Julie Amaktoolik, Mt. Edgecumbe 24:57 90. Dorothy Bukowski, Bethel 25:27 91. Brittney Boney, Bethel 25:32 92. Lena Coolidge, Dillingham 25:34 93. Dantezza Pangilinan, Sand Point 25:35 94. Darian Meissner, Wrangell 25:38 95. Anna Hansen, Bristol Bay 25:59 96. Kaylauna Churchill, Wrangell 26:02 97. Taylor Holman, Unalaska 26:17 98. Elizabeth Baumann, Eielson 26:17 99. Celeste Harrell, Su-Valley 26:17 100. Jacy Flynn, Hutchison 26:19 101. Rebecca Masterson, Barrow 26:34 102. Citaly Garcia, Unalaska 26:36 103. Janae Panamarioff, Barrow 26:45 104. Chandra Christiansen, Port Lions 27:23 105. Shannon Stevens, Mountain Village 27:36 106. Lynelle Jones, ACS 27:40 107. Bridget Nalam, Unalaska 27:41 108. Joan Klejka, Bethel 27:59 109. Teagan Gutka, Eielson 28:10 110. Avery Malenius, Eielson 28:55 111. Alynne Bankston, Barrow 29:18 112. Sydney Carlo, Hutchison 29:19 113. Janessa Vinas, Barrow 29:35.

Class 1-2-3A boys

Team scores: 1. Grace, 61; 2. Seward, 63; 3. Homer, 94; 4. Galena, 105; 5. Sitka, 121; 6. ACS, 134; 7. Unalaska, 165; 8. Nome, 196; 9. Petersburg, 238; 10. Monroe, 287; 11. Chevak, 291; 12. Craig, 329; 13. Effie Kokrine, 398.

Individual 5K results

1. Kaleb Korta, Galena 16:35 2. Zach Young, Grace Christian 16:48 3. Hunter Kratz, Seward 17:03 4. Ross Enlow, Unalaska 17:06 5. Michael Marshall, Seward 17:14 6. Miles King, Bristol Bay 17:19 7. Jared Brant, Homer 17:20 8. Bryce Gerald, Wrangell 17:23 9. Jordan Sondergaard, Glennallen 17:25 10. Zach Hamberger, Cordova 17:27 11. Pavel Hernandez, Barrow 17:30 12. Colin Baciocco, Sitka 17:32 13. Andrew Spencer, Houston 17:34 14. Trent Fritzel, Grace Christian 17:37 15. Daniel VanderWeide, Grace Christian 17:45 16. Jacob Moos, Galena 17:49 17. Jordan Beachy, Homer 17:50 18. William Borcy, Sitka 17:50 19. Jordan Zellhuber, Sitka 17:53 20. Blake Bennett, ACS 17:55 21. Seth Brewi, Seward 17:58 22. Kendrick Hoblet, Mt. Edgecumbe 17:59 23. Joe Apfelbeck, Galena 18:03 24. Wilson Hoogendorn, Nome 18:04 25. Graysen Sorensen, Grace Christian 18:08 26. Paxson Berry, Seward 18:13 27. Jacob Davis, Homer 18:14 28. Dylan Gilespie, Seward 18:18 29. Keegan Sundberg, Haines 18:19 30. Trenton Ambrose, Galena 18:22 31. Greg Trail, Nikolaevsk 18:23 32. Brandon Beachy, Homer 18:24 33. Nick Snow, Grace Christian 18:24 34. Thomas Zweifel, Seward 18:26 35. Ethan Isaacson, Grace Christian 18:26 36. Josh Miller, ACS 18:29 37. Brandon Moore, Seward 18:31 38. Timothy Storrza, ACS 18:33 39. Cade Tereda, Unalaska 18:36 40. Michael Todd, ACS 18:38 41. Sterling Moore, Kake 18:39 42. Michael Willis, Unalaska 18:40 43. Josiah Helken, Delta 18:40 44. Jayden Wilson, Unalakleet 18:43 45. Ben Sobek, ACS 18:43 46. Jaime Rios, Homer 18:45 47. Trevor Schoening, Sitka 18:45 48. Clint Thomas, Thorne Bay 18:47 49. Hugo Kakinya, Anaktuvuk Pass 18:49 50. Jonathon St Andre, Eielson 18:50 51. Denver Waclawski, Homer 18:50 52. Zeke Eakin, Kotzebue 18:52 53. Kevin Goodwin, Barrow 18:59 54. Ben Zarlengo, Petersburg 18:59 55. Gary Eakin, Kotzebue 18:59 56. Kobe Rivers, Scammon Bay 19:00 57. Michael Remolino, Unalaska 19:02 58. Oliver Hoogendorn, Nome 19:03 59. Tucker Hagerman, Petersburg 19:06 60. Harry Baldwin, Kotzebue 19:06 61. Nathaniel Lenhard, Petersburg 19:07 62. Shain Hardiman-Agi, Chevak 19:08 63. Trevor Thomas, Barrow 19:08 64. Austin Thomas, Thorne Bay 19:08 65. Manny Budke, Hoonah 19:10 66. Harrison Moore, Nome 19:11 67. John Chakuchin, Tooksook Bay 19:12 68. Rowan Sharman, Gustavus 19:13 69. James Tunutmoak, Scammon Bay 19:15 70. Cole Dull, Koliganek 19:15 71. Noah Smith, Bristol Bay 19:16 72. Andrew Walter, Monroe 19:18 73. Kasper Maier, Hutchison 19:19 74. Sam Bloom, Monroe 19:21 75. Isiah Beans, St. Mary’s 19:25 76. Jamie Yi, Nome 19:29 77. Elan Carroll, Homer 19:30 78. Christian Balaguer, Eielson 19:32 79. Gabe Melendrez, Craig 19:32 80. Thomas Bukowski, Chevak 19:35 81. Shaun Quinn, ACS 19:40 82. James Jorginson, Nome 19:40 83. Garrett Grahek, Monroe 19:40 84. Wyatt Brown, Grace Christian 19:45 85. Caleb Suarez, Sitka 19:46 86. Jack Matherly, Hutchison 19:49 87. Casey Konukpeok, New Stuyahok 19:50 88. Colten Mack, Sand Point 19:56 89. Luke Coverdell, ACS 19:56 90. Isaac McElwee, Galena 20:00 91. Daniel Holmberg, Petersburg 20:01 92. Leif Erikson, Nome 20:01 93. Sean Dorsey, Glennallen 20:04 94. Connor Buxton, Sitka 20:05 95. Zelek McNeilly, Galena 20:05 96. Liam Andersen, Unalaska 20:16 97. Joseph Friday, Chevak 20:17 98. Jonah Fefelov, Nikolaevsk 20:17 99. Dustin Goodman, Su-Valley 20:18 100. Kyle Hagerman, Petersburg 20:23 101. Thomas Warren, Delta 20:23 102. Dray Pastinak, Akiachak 20:27 103. Benjamin Carter, Sitka 20:33 104. Andy Nguyen, Unalaska 20:36 105. Seth Packer, Craig 20:41 106. Jaden Ulroan, Chevak 20:43 107. Bradley Charlie, Scammon Bay 20:48 108. Andrew Marker, Craig 20:48 109. David Kokrine, Effie Kokrine 20:51 110. Troy Metz, Monroe 21:06 111. Terrence Nose, Akiachak 21:07 112. Iverson Tulim, Chevak 21:09 113. Wyatt Patten, Craig 21:13 114. James Horner, Nome 21:13 115. Kody Salinas, Tok 21:19 116. Chance Shank, Effie Kokrine 21:27 117. Timber Burnham, Craig 21:29 118. Walker Ringstad, Monroe 21:30 119. Stuart Medalan, Petersburg 21:39 120. DeVonne Davis, Monroe 21:54 121. Mickey Matchian, Chevak 22:00 122. Mitchell Reeves, Craig 22:16 123. Justice Peter, Fort Yukon 22:22 124. Lynn-Victor Lonewolf, Galena 22:23 125. Maverick Ballard, Craig 22:28 126. Caleb Jones, Chevak 22:38 127. Ron Salpino, Effie Kokrine 22:39 128. Dakota Newcomer, Effie Kokrine 24:44 129. Israel Alexander, Effie Kokrine 25:37.

Small-schools: Homer girls take state XC crown

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