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Prep Cross Country: Grace’s Annett, Colony’s Hopkins reign supreme at Ted McKenney Invite, Mustangs sweep team titles

by | Aug 22, 2023 | Cover Story, Cross Country Running, Prep Spotlight, Running

Robbie Annett

Over 700 prep athletes toed the line at the Ted McKenney Invite, mixing it up with some of the state’s top competition regardless of division.

Grace Christian’s Robbie Annett broke away from the lead pack during the five-kilometer race to secure the title in 16 minutes, 6 seconds, while Colony’s Ella Hopkins outlasted the field in 19:34.

Annett, a junior and two-time state champion on the track, is also the top returner from the Division II state cross country meet. His race culminated with a personal best, collecting his second-consecutive win of the season, after narrowly winning the Wasilla Trailblazer Invite.

While Grace Christian boasted a 1-2 finish with senior Simon Nelson (16:16) and placed three boys in the top nine, it was the Chugiak Mustangs that stormed to victory with 108 points — eight points ahead of South Anchorage.

Palmer’s Fischer Adams was the top Division I runner in third (16:22), followed by Kenai Central’s Gregory Fallon (16:28) and South Anchorage’s Blaise Boyer (16:45).

Ella Hopkins

On the girls side, Hopkins returns to the trails after adding a pair of state runner-up finishes on the track. The junior, who also holds a pair of top-ten showings at the Division I state cross country meet, added her third career win with a personal best to boot.

Hopkins was followed closely by Soldotna’s Tania Boonstra (19:41), the reigning Mount Marathon junior champion, and was joined by teammates Morgan Ainsworth (19:53) and Aubrey Virgin (20:03).

Chugiak senior Skyler Belmear (20:09) rounded out the top five, leading a quartet of Mustangs to sweep the next four spots and claim the team title with 38 points — a staggering 33 points ahead of the Colony Knights.

Full results here.

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