The oddest feature of the prep sports calendar was on display Saturday at Kenai Central High School, when the Homer wrestling team accepted the team championship at the Luke Spruill Memorial Tournament just as word was filtering through the gym that Homer’s football team had fallen 20-14 in the Division III state championship to Barrow.
One did it using a handcycle after breaking his back seven years ago. Others competed after coaching at — or even running in — the Region III meet just outside of Palmer the day before.
In the door-prize drawing following the two-day Donald R. Morgan Memorial Club Championship at the Kenai Golf Course on Sunday, Homer’s Chris Morin won a 3-wood.
Don’t expect to see Morin using that club much around the penal, par-72 layout though. Morin has taken to a strategy of hitting mostly 4-irons off the tees at Kenai, and it’s taken him where no golfer at the course has gone before.
Morin is in the midst of another solid summer of golf. Recently, he tied the course record of 22 at the nine-hole, par-27 Homer Golf Course.
KENAI — The Homer baseball team got five runs from batters who had reached on walks in defeating Kenai Central 10-8 on Tuesday in Southcentral Conference action at the Kenai Little League fields.
The Mariners move to 2-1 in the league and 2-2 overall.
“The freebies that scored, that’s what hurt us today,” Kenai coach John Kennedy said.
While walks, liners and grounders would eventually decide the game, it didn’t start off that way.
At the Class 2A, 3A and 4A levels — or those schools 61 students and above — even the best basketball programs will have rebuilding seasons.
At the Class 1A level — or those schools with 60 students or less — even the best programs will have seasons where they can’t even field a team.
The Cook Inlet Academy boys squad, which won state titles in 1999, 2002 and 2005 and reached another state final in 2003, will be dormant this year.
The host Nikiski volleyball team saved a match point in picking up a five-set victory over Homer on Tuesday in Southcentral Conference play.
The Bulldogs won 23-25, 25-23, 25-7, 18-25 and 16-14 to move to 3-1 in the league and 3-2 overall. Homer drops to 1-3 in the league.
Nikiski had to dig out of an 11-6 hole to take the final game, but an attack led by junior middle hitter Ayla Pitt, who finished with eight kills and five blocks, was up to the task.
It was mariners-type weather, and a Homer Mariners-type meet.
The Homer girls and boys cross-country teams swept the team title at the Kenai Peninsula Borough meet Tuesday under constant showers at a puddly and slick Tsalteshi Trails.
The Homer girls have garnered a ton of accolades recently, most notably the Class 1-2-3A state crown last season.
Homer’s Michael Houghton can still remember the first hole fellow Homer resident Chris Morin played at the Kenai Golf Course about 10 years ago.
Morin’s initial swipe at the notoriously penal layout was a duck hook that ended up on the tee box of the ninth hole.
“I thought, I’m glad I have another duffer to play with,” Houghton said. “He then clears the top of the trees, puts it on the green and two-putts for par.
Following a great performance at the Tsalteshi Invitational, the Mariners will host the Homer Invitational starting at 3 p.m. Friday.
Although the Tsalteshi race doesn’t feature a lot of small schools, Homer was the top 1-2-3A squad in both the girls and boys races, even beating out powerhouse Grace Christian. The girls finished sixth out of 16 participating schools; the boys seventh out of 19 participating schools.
Megan Pitzman was ninth in 19:54 in the girls race, and Homer’s top female finisher.
Before she burst out of the forest and onto the football field for her finishing kick at the Nikiski Class Races on Monday at Nikiski, Soldotna senior Olivia Hutchings actually had to run under a spectator who had strung a hammock from a tree on each side of the trail.
One would think Hutchings would remember that, but it’s an indication of how hard she ran — and how hard Nikiski’s roller-coaster course is — that the last thing she recalls in the 5-kilometer race is looking at her watch and seeing she had run 3.8 kilometers.
It may be the holiday season, but both the Soldotna and Homer hockey teams were not in a giving mood Friday in Northstar Conference action at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
The two squads, who had played three times previously this season with SoHi winning twice, played to a scoreless draw. The Stars enter the holiday break at 5-6-2 and 0-3-1 in the conference, while the Mariners are 7-5-1 and 1-3-1.
MileSplit, which bills itself as the premier website for high school cross-country and track and field, will use the story of Kenai Central senior and running standout Allie Ostrander to launch a series of videos chronicling elite athletes.
“On The Rise: Allie Ostrander” will be released in two episodes. The first was released late last month, while the second was released this week.
For those area hoops fans despairing that both the Northern Lights Conference and Southcentral Conference tournaments are happening off the Kenai Peninsula this year, don’t despair.
There is still basketball this weekend at the Peninsula Conference tournament at Skyview High School. A lot of basketball.
The tournament opened with eight games Wednesday, with a total of 27 games scheduled to be played by the time the tournament wraps up Saturday.
The Mariner hockey team blazed through three games in the last week, with a 7-1 loss to Wasilla on Friday, a 3-3 tie in action with Palmer on Saturday, both games played in Homer, and, in a rematch against the Kenai Kardinals on Tuesday, a 5-3 loss.
It may be too early for March, but it's never too early for madness.
Calendars won't flip until Friday, but by that time the Peninsula Conference will already have 16 games in at its conference tournament at Lumen Christi in Anchorage.
Don't count on the month holding its reputation for a lamb's entrance, either, as Friday and Saturday will see 10 more games contested, including the all-important conference championship games Friday and the second-place games Saturday.
There’s nothing quite like a tie in sports.
The final horn sounds and nobody raises their arms. Nobody lowers their heads. Players head to the locker rooms wearing poker faces and fans file to the exits, not sure how to react.
Such was the case Tuesday night at the Soldotna Sports Center, when the Soldotna and Homer hockey teams tied 2-2 in North Star Conference action. Neither team scored in the sudden-death, five-minute extra period, and there is no shootout in high school hockey.