Story last updated at 12:27 p.m. Friday, September 6, 2002

Mariners grab wins at invite
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

photo: sports
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Assistant cross country coach Tari Hoeft, foreground, shouts encouragement for Mariner runner Ivan Heimbuch, bib No. 111, as he nears the finish of Friday's Homer Invitational.  
A little rain couldn't dampen the Homer High School cross country team's spirits Friday afternoon as Monte Garroutte powered his way to a first-place finish on the Mariners' 3-mile course at Homer Invitational.

Meanwhile, the Mariner girls took five of the top nine places and won the team title for Homer's only home meet of the season.

The girls were led by a second-place effort from junior Aleta Phelps, while the boys team finished third in the team standings behind second-place Skyview and winner Anchorage Christian.

Phelps found herself running alone in the distant wake of the eventual winner, Marcie Mohler of Skyview. Mohler finished in 18 minutes, 56 seconds, while Phelps brought in a time of 19:52.9.

"She always just goes way out there and then stays way ahead," Phelps said of Mohler's early jump, which left her running alone in second for the entire race. "I think I might have run a little better if I hadn't been running alone."

Still, Phelps said, she felt good about her times thus far this season.

"She ran a nice race," said coach Daryl Farrens. "I think she should be pleased with where she is at this point."

Farrens gave ample credit to the other Mariner varsity girls. All five varsity girls on the Homer squad put up personal bests for their home course, Farrens said.

Melanie Mach, Megan Mahan, Rose Sinnhuber and Samantha Halpin all had excellent races, Farrens said.

On the boys' side, it was Garroutte's day to shine above all his competitors. After finishing third in the Homer Invitational last year, Garroutte jumped out to an early lead this year and never let up.

Garroutte finished with a time of 16:48.9, with Jake Moe Anchorage Christian School coming in second at 16:54.5.

For the Homer junior, the promising start to his season comes in part from a trip Outside to a running camp this past summer and some extended training time.

"I definitely put in more (time) than other summers," Garroutte said of his preseason workouts.

In past years, Garroutte said, his summer workouts were mostly limited to the pacing one can do on the back deck of a commercial fishing vessel.

The other Mariner varsity boys, Ivan Heimbuch, Dylan Anderson, Morgan Jones and Travis Hines all put up personal best times.

Sepp Jannotta can be reached at