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CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING

Prep Cross Country: South Anchorage celebrates back-to-back team titles at Mt. SAC Invitational in California

by | Oct 23, 2023 | Cover Story, Cross Country Running, Prep Spotlight, Running

Blaise Boyer

The South Anchorage Wolverines made the trek to Walnut, Calif. one to remember, returning with hardware after defending their boys team title at the 75th annual Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational.

Led by senior Blaise Boyer, the Wolverines ascended to victory out of 23 teams in the Division 4 varsity race. Boyer, who placed fifth at the state meet, used a blazing second half to cover the hilly 1.8-mile course in 9 minutes, 44 seconds placing sixth.

While temperatures rose into the mid-90s, the Wolverines competed tactically, making the most of their season finale. Due to the scorching weather, race officials opted to shorten the course from the traditional 2.93-mile route.

But when the starting gun sounded, the Wolverines were poised to compete.

“It was awesome,” said Vebjørn Flagstad in a Dyestat/RunnerSpace interview. “Coming from a state championship win to this — it’s a great way to end (the season) off.”

The pace was quick from the beginning as the leaders came through the first mile in just under five minutes. Flagstad and Boyer got off to a strong start, coming through the first mile in 5:04 and 5:09 to be amongst the top 15 runners in the 165-person field.

The real challenge began as racers climbed more than 100 feet up a switchback before coasting down the long, gradual descent to the finish stadium.

Vebjørn Flagstad (left)

“I was kind of keeping it conservative going up switchbacks,” said Boyer in a Dyestat/RunnerSpace interview. “By the time I got to the top, I knew this was where I was gonna make my move.”

Boyer used the momentum to surge past competitors, moving up nine spots to place sixth and lead the Wolverines for the third consecutive year. The senior blitzed a 4:35 second half to narrowly edge Flagstad, who passed two competitors en route to a seventh-place finish (9:45).

“Without Vebjørn (Flagstad), I wouldn’t have had that guy up there to say, ‘This is where I got to push, this is where I got to be,’” Boyer told Dyestat/RunnerSpace.

Jaxon Henrie placed 19th (10:13), followed by Rowan Robinson 34th (10:33) and Gus Olson 36th (10:33). The trio passed 14-20 competitors apiece in the second half. Ryan Hansen and Miles Gastrock rounded out the squad, finishing 60th and 87th.

“I’m so proud to be a part of the South Anchorage Wolverines,” Boyer told RunnerSpace/Dyestat. “I’m super proud to have the team that I have, with all these super amazing runners who I love being around.”

The Wolverines scored 97 points to win by a healthy 26-point margin over El Segundo (CA).

Left to Right: Coach Sara Miller,: Ryan Hansen, Miles Gastrock, Vebjørn Flagstad, Gus Olson, Jaxon Henrie, Rowan Robinson, Blaise Boyer, Coach Jerry Ross.

“It’s been a new tradition for us to go outside and compete against California’s best teams,” said coach Jerry Ross. “It shows how tough our kids are, looking at how well they ran the second half of the race even in that heat.”

On the girls side, senior Elizabeth Page led the Wolverines to a strong showing, finishing ninth in 12:08.

Fueled by a quick start, Page came through the first mile in 6:05 to put herself in contention with the top three runners in the 156-person field. While the pace fluctuated, Page stayed composed and held on for a top-10 finish in her Mt. SAC debut.

Addison Bailey and Madilyn Gifford moved up over the second half to finish 21st (12:34) and 23rd (12:36) respectively, followed by Madison Dahlstrom in 61st (13:41) and Cameryn Kauffman in 92nd (14:21).

West Anchorage’s Berit Meyers was the lone representative for the Eagles, finishing 30th (12:48).

The Wolverines compiled 187 points to finish sixth out of 23 teams. Hacienda Heights (CA) took top honors with 101 points.

Elizabeth Page (left)

Story made possible by:

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

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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