Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 4:02 PM on Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Year holds promise for Mariner runners


The Homer Mariners cross country runners produced promising results at the recent meets in Seward and Palmer last Friday and Saturday.

Homer High School, categorized as a 3A school, competed against other 3A and larger 4A schools, including West Anchorage, Colony and Chugiak. In both meets, the Homer varsity boys placed fourth overall and varsity girls placed fifth overall.

Frank Dieckgraeff Cross Country Invitational, Seward, Friday

Results for runners finishing in 42-51 positions were not available.

Girls team scores

(1) Grace Christian, 35; (2) Wasilla, 62; (3) Kenai, 86; (4) Soldotna, 95; (5) Homer, 96; (6) Seward, 32.

Homer girls individual 5K (14) Aurora Waclawski, 21:22; (15) Aiza Pitcher, 21:28; (16) Barae Hirsch, 21:29; (27) Valerie Mastolier, 22:54; (29) Rebecca Seneff, 23:02; (30) Pam Jantzi, 23:04.

Boys team scores

(1) Grace Christian, 45; (2) Kenai Central, 50; (3) Seward, 72; (4) Homer, 95; (5) Anchorage Christian Schools, 122; (6) Wasilla, 143; (7) Cordova, 178; (8) Soldotna, 190.

Homer boys individual 5K (9) Connor McCarron, 17:50; (15) Pedro Ochoa, 18:13; (16) Josh VanTrease, 18:17; (26) Jake Worsfold, 19:06; (31) Brandon Beachy, 19:20; (41) John Walsworth, 19:47.

2012 Colony Cross Country Invite in Palmer, Saturday

5,000 Meters Men Varsity

(8) Connor McCarron, 17:50:05; (15) Pedro Ochoa, 18:09:05; (27) Josh VanTrease, 18:48:00; (35) Jake Worsfold, 19:33:08, (39) Brandon Beachy, 19:46:05; (45) John Walsworth, 20:21:03.

5,000 Meters Women Varsity

(17) Aurora Waclawski, 21:48:09; (21) Barae Hirsch, 22:11:06; (23) Asiza Pitcher, 22:23:02; (29) Pam Jantzi, 23:16:07; (33) Rebecca Seneff, 23:28:03; (35) Valerie Mastolier, 23:30:01.

Head Coach Bill Steyer is coaching his second season of Mariner cross country and has coached track for the past four years. Steyer said that his goal is to improve the quality of both programs.

Last year he was able to take one runner to state, but this year Steyer is optimistic for bigger numbers.

"We've got a good shot at taking both varsity teams to state," he said. "We have a really great and dynamic team."

Steyer expressed specific enthusiasm about the three freshmen girls competing on varsity, Aurora Waclawski, Barae Hirsch and Aziza Pitcher, and the captain of the boys varsity, senior Connor McCarron who took eighth place in the Colony meet.

"(McCarron) runs an excellent race and has really good racing strategy," said Steyer.

Because the season is so short, Steyer worked to condition the team well before the cross country season began.

He gave his athletes a detailed training schedule to use during the summer.

"You can't show up day one with no running base and expect to be competitive," said Steyer. "You have to have three to four months of training."

Also part of the preseason conditioning was participating as a team in the Steens Mountain Running Camp in Oregon, which ended a week before the official cross country season began.

Steyer described the week-long camp in July as a good springboard into the season.

With a program designed for 13-18 year olds, Steens Mounain Running Camp is located on the 9,773-foot Steens Mountain in Southeastern Oregon.

Base camp is at the 7,500-foot level of the mountain with training sites taking advantage of the ridge and canyon settings.

Using group and individual instruction, the running camp focuses on performance improvement through self-reliance, personal accountability and teamwork strategies, without the distraction of cell phones, DVD players, iPods and other modern technology.

"The plan I had was good preconditioning, and I think it's paying off," he said. "These guys are experiencing success so they are motivated."

The Mariners are preparing to compete in a dual meet in Palmer and Seward this weekend. They will then turn their sights to the Borough Championships in Soldotna, followed by the Regional Championships in Seward.

If Homer is placed in the top four in the 3A division they will advance to the State Championships in Anchorage.