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CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING

Prep Cross Country: Chugiak girls push winning streak to 16; Tri-Valley’s Taylor Eddington wins sixth straight

by | Sep 7, 2023 | Cover Story, Cross Country Running, Prep Spotlight, Running

The Chugiak girls from the Big 8 Invitational in August. Photo by Bryan Boyett/Alaska Sports Report

From Kodiak to Skagway to Delta Junction and beyond, prep athletes competed at a handful of cross country meets around the state.

At the Kodiak Invitational, over 130 runners took to Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park to conquer one of the state’s hilliest courses, gaining over 550 feet of elevation on the 5-kilometer course.

The Chugiak Mustangs continued their winning ways, placing six athletes in the top seven to cruise to the girls team victory with 20 points, increasing their streak to 16 consecutive in-state wins, dating back to 2021. But it was South Anchorage’s Elizabeth Page who took the top spot in 20 minutes, 2 seconds — a personal best and her first career win in a varsity race. The senior, whose time ranks 20th in course history, is quietly shaping into form after placing 11th at the Ted McKenney Invite and eighth at the Big 8 Invite.

South Anchorage’s Blaise Boyer captured his fourth career victory, clocking a time of 16:44 to lead the Wolverines to their second-consecutive team win with 28 points — 29 ahead of the Bears. Boyer’s time ranks 25th in course history, while teammate and runner-up finisher Vebjørn Flagstad (16:59) also cracked the top 50 all-time list.

In the Southeast, teams competed at a pair of invitationals.

At the Skagway Invitational, the Juneau-Douglas girls swept the top 7 spots for a perfect score of 15 points. Senior Etta Eller led the Crimson Bears over the 3.2-mile distance in 23:01, while senior teammate Edgar Vera Alverado (18:51) edged Nick Iverson by one second to lead the boys with 21 points — 22 ahead of crosstown rival Thunder Mountain.

At the Klawock Mike Cleary Invitational, Wrangell’s Boomchain Loucks collected his first career win in 17:23. The sophomore set a personal best and led the Wolves with a 1-2 finish, followed closely by teammate Keegan Hansen (17:33). Ketchikan boys took the team win with 27 points, while the girls won unanimously, as the only team to field a full squad. Petersburg freshman Mariah Toth claimed top honors in 21:32.

Taylor Eddington

Tri-Valley sophomore Taylor Eddington showcased her talent at the Delta Invitational. The Division III defending state champion won her sixth consecutive cross country meet, dating back to last fall, in 20:57. Eddington owns an average margin of victory of 47 seconds per race this season. West Valley sailed to victory with 28 points, while the Lathrop boys narrowly edged the Wolfpack 33 to 36 points. West Valley senior Cirdan Vonnahme inked his second win of the season in 17:15.

Valdez’s Rafe Caruthers added his fourth career win and second of the season at the Glennallen Invite in 17:54. The race marks the second time the senior has dipped under the 18-minute barrier, a milestone for the Buccaneer who has chipped away eight minutes since the start of his prep career. Wasilla freshman Hailee Giacobbe secured her second win of the season in 20:10 — 2:05 ahead of second place — to lead the Warriors to team wins across the board.

Next up, the George Plumley Invite is slated for Saturday at Palmer High, hosting athletes from more than 50 teams.

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