Story last updated at 1:20 p.m. Saturday, August 31, 2002

Garroutte, Phelps pace Homer runners
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

Homer High School's Monte Garroutte took to the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna with 140 other high school varsity runners on Saturday and put up an eighth-place finish in the boys race at the Skyview Invitational cross country meet.

Garroutte's time for the 5-kilometer race was 17 minutes, 44 seconds, putting him less than a minute behind winner Aaron Dickson of Palmer, who with his brother Drew was the only runner to finish in under 17 minutes.

Garroutte, a junior, was the only boy on the Homer team who finished in the top 100, something that coach Daryl Farrens took as both evidence that Garroutte is a contender for a state title and as a sign that the rest of his boys are facing a tough challenge.

"It was a wake-up call that they need to continue to work hard," said Farrens, who figured his other boys would need to drop up to 2 minutes "for them to make a real contributions as far as region standings go."

Dylan Anderson placed 107th (20:57) and Travis Hines finished 113th (21:12), while Morgan Jones finished 118th (21:23). Farrens said both Anderson and Hines took significant time off their last year finishes.

On the girls side, junior Aleta Phelps placed 14th out of 138 runners, an improvement from her 40th-place finish in last year's Skyview meet.

"Aleta is pretty much prepared for all the races," Farrens said of the team's top runner. "She's focused, and I think she's satisfied (with her time).

"She knows what she needs to do to continue to improve."

The girls varsity race was won by Kris Smith of West. Smith is the reigning state cross country champion.

Other Mariner varsity girls finishing were Melanie Mach at 40th (22:20), Hannah Harrison at 50th (22:38) and Megan Mahan at 68th (23:20).

Neither the Mariner boys nor the girls had enough varsity runners to make the tabulations for team standings.

Sepp Jannotta can be reached at sjannotta@homernews.com

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