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Prep Cross Country: State-best times lowered in Chugiak and Ketchikan; three regions crown champions

by | Sep 25, 2023 | Cover Story, Cross Country Running, Prep Spotlight, Running

Alliyah Fields, followed closely by Chugiak teammate Hannah Shaha. Photo by Peter Pounds.

Prep runners dropped impressive times at the Smokin’ Stampede and the Ketchikan Invitational, while winners were crowned at the Region 6, Region 2 and Region 1 (Northwest Arctic Conference) championships.

Hosting on their home course, the Chugiak Mustangs led the way at the Beach Lake Trails.

Junior Alliyah Fields sped to her second victory over 5-kilometers, covering the course in a magnificent 19 minutes, 3 seconds — a huge personal best and two ticks ahead of teammate Hannah Shaha.

Fields, who won the Big 8 Invite, has remained consistent throughout the season, logging a runner-up finish at the Kodiak Invitational before securing a sixth-place finish at the George Plumley Invitational.

And while the Mustangs have a star-studded line-up, each race has continued to showcase their strength in numbers.

Varsity girls mass of the Smokin’ Stampede start. Photo by Peter Pounds.

On Saturday, Chugiak put five runners inside the top-8 with all five scorers running under the 20-minute barrier — a feat so rare only a handful of Alaskan teams have accomplished it during the regular season.

Behind Fields and Shaha were Colony’s Morgan Ainsworth (19:21) and Ella Hopkins (19:23), while Chugiak’s Hannah Bodkin (19:31) completed the top five.

The Mustangs registered their 18th consecutive win against in-state competition, amassing 22 points — 73 ahead of South Anchorage.

On the boys side, the showdown between Palmer’s Fischer Adams and Grace Christian’s Robbie Annett did not disappoint.

Adams, who previously was 0-3 to Annett this season, blasted to his second consecutive win and first over the junior from Anchorage.

But by no means did Annett make it easy.

Boys Smokin’ Stampede champion Fischer Adams of Palmer High School approaches the finish line. Photo by Peter Pounds.

The pair broke away from the field early on with Adams taking chase. Eventually, Adams reeled in Annett, crossing the line in a swift 15:48 — a massive personal best and the state-leading time. Annett finished four seconds back to dip under 16 minutes for the second time this season.

South Anchorage’s Blaise Boyer placed third in 16:18, while Colony’s Tobias Buchanan (16:27) and South Anchorage’s Vebjørn Flagstad (16:30) rounded out the top five.

Led by Boyer and Flagstad, the Wolverines powered to the top for the fourth time this season with 76 points — 34 ahead of West Anchorage.

Full results here.

At the Ketchikan Invitational, it was Sitka’s time to shine, sweeping the team and individual titles.

Junior Clare Mullin lowered her Division II and overall state lead with a sizzling 5-K time of 18:53.

Robbie Annett leads the pack early in the Smokin’ Stampede. Photo by Harlow Robinson.

The mark knocked three seconds off her personal best run earlier in the month at the Wrangell Invitational. And while Mullin continues to hold her own, her teammates followed her lead on Saturday, accumulating 35 points to finish just two ahead of the Crimson Bears.

Juneau-Douglas’ Etta Eller took runner-up in 19:18, while Sitka’s Marina Dill (20:44), Juneau-Douglas’ Kaia Mangaccat (21:03) and Ava Newell (21:12) completed the top five.

On the boys side, the Wolves were led by juniors Connor Hitchcock (16:33) and Trey Demmert (16:49). Hitchcock lowered his personal best for the third time this season, while Demmert’s runner-up is the highest finish of his career, thus far.

Wrangell’s Keegan Hanson (16:52), formerly of Craig, edged Sitka’s Annan Weiland by less than one second, followed by Wrangell’s Boomchain Loucks (17:05) in fifth.

With three runners in the top four, Sitka ran away with the team title, amassing 55 points — 16 ahead of Thunder Mountain.

Full results here.

Girls varsity racers in the Smokin’ Stampede. Photo by Harlow Robinson.

In addition to the two invitationals, Region 6, Region 2 and Region 1 (Northwest Arctic Conference) held their championships.

The Region 6 Division 1 boys race was won by Lathrop’s Tucker Sarkisian in 16:35, narrowly edging West Valley’s Cirdan Vonnahme (16:36) who led the Wolfpack to the team title. On the girls side, Lathrop’s Solveig Finstad claimed the win in 20:39, while the Wolfpack clinched the team title by one point.

The Region 6 Division 2 boys race was won by Valdez’s Rafe Caruthers in 17:11 ahead of Monroe Catholic’s Anthony White (17:31) who led the Rams to the team title. On the girls side, Delta Junction’s Reagan Pearson claimed the win in 21:57, while the Rams secured the team title with 28 points.

Tri-Valley’s Taylor Eddington, the defending Division III state champion, stormed to her second-consecutive title at the Region 2 Championships in 20:09, a personal best by six seconds, while Fort Yukon collected the team title. On the boys side, Cordova’s Floyd Widsoe claimed the win in 17:39, leading the Wolverines to the team title.

Full results here.

Lastly, the Region 1 Northwest Arctic Conference title was won by Deering’s Aidan Barr in 19:16, followed by Kiana’s Talon Westlake (20:22) and Buckland’s Austin Hadley (20:27). On the girls side, Kiana’s Zaylin Barr was victorious in 23:33, followed by Buckland’s Jacinta Berlin (25:14) and Noorvik’s Myrtle Williams (27:15).

Full results here.

Story made possible by:

Family of Sponsors

Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Alaska Airlines | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Joe Alston | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Aspen Endodontics | Glen Bailey | Kathie Bethard | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Continental Auto Group | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris | The Conway Family | Donley Family | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Foley & Pearson | JL Properties | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Amy and Jason Miller | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | Rick Mystrom | Kathleen Navarre | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Dave and DeAnne Rand | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Replacement Glass | Residential Mortgage | RSA Engineering- Sarah & A.J. Schirack | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Peter Pounds | Dan Rufner | Harlow Robinson | Pete Robinson | Moria Smith | Taylored Restoration | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Team Heat | Todd Whited | UAA Seawolves | Don Winchester

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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