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Prep Cross Country: Fischer Adams celebrates D1 state title on home course; South scores first team title in 18 years

by | Oct 9, 2023 | Cover Story, Cross Country Running, Running

Palmer’s Fischer Adams leads South Anchorage’s Vebjørn Flagstad. Photo by Peter Pounds.

Fischer Adams’ prep cross country career came full circle on Saturday after collecting his first state title on his Palmer home course.

The star-studded senior set the pace at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cross Country State Running Championships, covering the 5-kilometer distance in 16-minutes flat.

Adams, who came into the meet with three consecutive wins under his belt, was primed to improve upon his third-place finish from 2021 after injuries limited his performance last fall.

“I tried to keep it all in perspective and realized I wanted to be peaking at the right time,” said Adams.

On paper, he was the favorite. Against Division I competition, he was undefeated. And when the starting gun went off at the Mike Janecek Trails, Adams was readier than ever.

“I’ve been running this course since I was in middle school, so I know it like the back of my hand,” said Adams.

While he kept his cards close to his chest, South Anchorage’s Vebjørn Flagstad was undeterred by Adams’ presence, filing behind the senior for the first lap.

Tobias Buchanan of Colony leads Blake Hanley of West. Photo by Peter Pounds.

Once Adams realized his closest competitors were letting him dictate the pace, he made a surge.

“I was just trying to tell myself ‘chase the biker’ because I didn’t want anyone creeping up on me,” said Adams.

The Palmer High senior never relented, following the lead bike as his gap on the field widened.

“At that point, it’s just you and yourself against everyone else,” said Adams.

Adams continued to push the pace, cresting the hills and hugging the turns as he made his way around the three-loop course. When Adams emerged from the fog on the home stretch, the title was his for the taking, blasting toward the finish line to win by a whopping 42 seconds.

Immediately upon finishing, Adams shared an embrace with his friends and family by the stadium’s chain-linked fence.

“[They’ve] supported me and I just really appreciate them and everything they’ve done to help me get to this point in my career,” said Adams.

Adams’ win is the fifth individual boys title for Palmer High and the first in 21 years, joining Aaron Dickson (’02), Eric Callison (’97) and Norm Rousey (‘89 & ’91).

D1 Boys Top-10 Finishers

1. Fischer Adams, Palmer, 16:00

2. Tobias Buchanan, Colony, 16:43

3. Blake Hanley, West Anchorage, 16:49

4. Elias Litzow, Kodiak, 16:50

5. Blaise Boyer, South Anchorage, 16:57

6. Jarrett Jackson, Dimond, 16:59

7. Owen Hayes, Chugiak, 17:00

8. Vebjørn Flagstad, South Anchorage, 17:01

9. Elias Oswald, Service, 17:03

10. Edgar Vera Alvarado, Juneau-Douglas, 17:04

See complete results here.

While Adams was adding his name to the history books, the South Anchorage Wolverines were making history of their own, achieving just their second boys team title and first since 2005.

The last time the Wolverines won the cross country state title, most of the current team hadn’t been born yet.

Since then, South Anchorage has produced a multitude of strong teams, placing in the top three on four occasions, including a runner-up finish last fall to the Colony Knights.

ASAA Cross Country Running Division I State Champion, South Anchorage Wolverines.

With most of their key players returning from last year, the Wolverines got an early start, logging summer miles and forming a connection beyond the trails.

The tight-knit group started seeing results in late August, reeling off four team wins during the regular season. And while West Anchorage topped the charts at the Cook Inlet Conference Championships, the Wolverines relied on their low-stick performers and dependable depth to pull through with the win when it mattered most.

Senior Blaise Boyer (5th) and sophomore Vebjørn Flagstad (8th) led South Anchorage with a pair of top-ten finishes, before being joined by sophomore Jaxon Henrie (17th), freshman Miles Gastrock (34th) and junior Gus Olson (38th). Senior Rowan Robinson (43rd) and junior Ryan Hansen (46th) rounded out the squad.

The Wolverines captured the title with 83 points — six points ahead of both West Anchorage (89) and Chugiak (89). The tie was broken by the Eagles’ sixth runner, while they also collected the team academic award.

Feature photo by Jaycie Calvert.

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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