Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 3:08 PM on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mariners take 3rd in XC boroughs competition

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff writer


Photo provided

It was muddy race for Nikolaevsk runner Nick Holub, No. 1038, and other participants in borough cross-country competition at Skyview High School on Saturday.

With rain pouring down and a 5K course turning to mud beneath their feet, cross-country teams from Kenai Peninsula Borough high schools met at Skyview High School's Tsalteshi Trails on Saturday for the boroughs competition.

Homer Mariner girls and boys teams each finished in third place, with SoHi girls and Kenai boys taking the first-place titles.

"It was muddy and kind of progressively got wetter and the course got sloppier," said Mariner Head Coach Bill Steyer. "But everyone is subjected to the same conditions. It's cross-country. You have to train to be able to compete in all types of adverse conditions."

The runners' times were great, said Steyer, although a little slower than at the Soldotna Invite the week before due to the slippery conditions.

The Mariner girls faced a tight challenge, as expected, from second-place Kenai, with only three points separating the two teams. Similarly for the boys, only seven points separated them from second-place Seward.

"With a few adjustments and a couple of runners that have been injured, if they'd been there, maybe the outcome would have been different, but that's all," said Steyer.

Ahead are the final two main championship meets of the season: regions on Saturday in Seward and, if Homer can finish in the top four in both boys and girls, the state championship at Bartlett High School in Anchorage the following weekend.

In Saturday's regions, Homer will compete against 10 Region 3A teams.

"Our girls have a legitimate shot at coming in second place, so that's exciting. We've got to keep everybody together, healthy," said Steyer. "The boys (race) will be real competitive. ... It's not a shoe-in by any means, but I feel pretty good about our chances of advancing to state."

Overall, Steyer said it's been a "really exciting season." An influx of younger, enthusiastic athletes "excited about performing well" has given the team an additional spark.

"They've really put a lot of effort into it," Steyer said of the Mariner girls and boys cross-country teams.

Nikolaevsk, a 1A school, also competed in the boroughs competition on Saturday. Coach Steve Klaich chose to run three freshmen runners in the boys JV race and three senior athletes in the varsity race, which meant less than a full five-member team.

"I could have put all six in the varsity race, but since we were running with the big schools, I felt that it was in the best interest of my freshmen to place them into the JV category," said Klaich.

As it turned out, "freshman Greg Trail and Nicetas Lasiter braved difficult trail conditions and ran great races," said Klaich. "Both runners achieved personal best times and look strong heading into the Region II meet at Su Valley High School on Saturday."

Kenai Peninsula Borough Cross-Country Championships

Skyview High School Tsalteshi Trails

Sept. 15

Girls team scores: (1) Soldotna, 31 points; (2) Kenai Central, 53; (3) Homer, 56; (4) Seward, 87; unscored schools: Nikolaevsk.

Girls individual results: (6) Aurora Waclawski, 21:23; (7) Barae Hirsch, 21:24; (12) Rebecca Seneff, 22:05; (14) Pam Jantzi, 22:43; (17) Valerie Mastolier, 22:54; (18) Sakota Mitchell, 23:19; (22) Megan Hickman, Nikolaevsk, 25:55.

Boys team scores: (1) Kenai Central, 32 points; (2) Seward, 51; (3) Homer, 58; (4) Skyview, 85; (5) Soldotna, 124; unscored schools: Nikiski, Nikolaevsk.

Boys individual results: (5) Connor McCarron, 17:27; (6) Pedro Ochoa, 17:30; (13) Josh Vantrease, 18:24; (16) Jake Worsfold, 18:28; (18) Brandon Beachy, 18:35; (28) Blake Klaich, Nikolaevsk, 19:27; (29) John Walsworth, 19:47; (30) Jared Wallis, Nikolaevsk, 19:49; (34) Eric Mametieff, Nikolaevsk, 21:09; (35) Mike Olsen, Nikolaevsk, 21:11; (37) Michael Hollinger, Nikolaevsk, 22:06; (38) Frank Holub, Nikolaevsk, 22:49.