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CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING

Prep Cross Country: Adams, Meyer clock fast times in Seward and Sitka; Colony, Juneau-Douglas sweep team titles

by | Sep 20, 2023 | Cover Story, Cross Country Running, Running

Start of the girls race at Sitka Invitational. Photo by James Poulson.

At least seven high school cross country meets were held around the state over the weekend, with strong performances at the Frank Dieckgraeff Invitational and the Sitka Invitational.

Palmer’s Fischer Adams continued his rise to the top collecting a win at the Frank Dieckgraeff Invitational, conquering the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 30 seconds.

Kenai Central’s Gregory Fallon placed runner-up in 17:04, while Colony’s Tobias Buchanan (17:17), Palmer’s Tobin Miller (17:19) and Kodiak’s Miles Grimes (17:27) rounded out the top five.

The Colony Knights collected the team title with 43 points — 29 ahead of the Kodiak Bears.

Adams, who also stars for the Moose on the pitch, has put together his strongest season thus far, after stringing together top-three finishes in his previous outings. He opened the season with a third-place showing at the Ted McKenney Invite, followed by a pair of runners-up finishes at the Colony Invite and George Plumley Invite.

Fischer Adams

And while he played second fiddle to Grace Christian’s Robbie Annett previously, his streak against Division I competition remains unblemished, making him one of the top contenders for the state title.

On the girls side, Colony’s Ella Hopkins collected her second win of the season in 20:02, after storming to victory at the Ted McKenney Invitational in mid-August.

Hopkins’ win was much closer this time, finishing just ahead of teammate Morgan Ainsworth (20:03) who won the George Plumley Invite. Soldotna’s Tania Boonstra finished third (20:06), while Tri-Valley’s Taylor Eddington (20:16) and Wasilla’s Hailee Giacobbe (20:32) completed the top five.

Hopkins and Ainsworth led the Knights to victory with 34 points — 18 ahead of the Soldotna Stars.

Full results here.

At the Sitka Invitational, 241 runners representing 15 teams competed at Totem Park.

Juneau-Douglas’ Ida Meyer claimed the win in the slimmest of margins, covering the 5-kilometer course in 19:08, finishing less than a half second ahead of Sitka’s Clare Mullin. Juneau-Douglas’ Rayna Tuckwood placed third (19:25), while Sitka’s Marina Dill (20:04) and Haines’ Ari’el Godinez Long (20:05), finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

By placing all five scorers in the top 8, Juneau-Douglas ran away with the team title, accumulating 22 points — 40 ahead of Grace Christian.

Sitka’s Clare Mullin and Juneau-Douglas’ Ida Meyer at the finish line. Photo by James Poulson.

Both Meyer and Mullin have helped lower the state’s top times. Mullin, the top Division II returner, currently holds the quickest mark of 18:56, which she clocked at the Wrangell Invitational. Meyer vaulted into the top position in Division I, accompanied by teammate Rayna Tuckwood who currently holds the third-best time of the season.

While cross country courses often vary and times can become subjective, the state championships even the playing field, with Juneau-Douglas brewing to be one of the top challengers for the two-time defending champions, the Chugiak Mustangs.

On the boys side, Grace Christian’s Robbie Annett — the Division II and overall state leader — propelled his undefeated streak to seven, after facing competition in southeast Alaska.

Annett crossed the line in 16:26 — 11 seconds ahead of Sitka’s Connor Hitchcock (16:37). Grace Christian’s Simon Nelson finished third (16:50), while Juneau-Douglas’ Edgar Vera Alvarado (16:55) and Sitka’s Trey Demmert (16:56) rounded out the top five.

With all five scorers in the top-18, Juneau-Douglas amassed 52 points — 12 ahead of the Grizzlies.

Full results here.

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