It’s been a busy few weeks for the Soccer Association of Homer competitive teams.
Take the Spit Run, chop the 6.2-mile distance in half, stand it on its ear and what do you have? Seward’s annual Mt. Marathon Race, a Fourth of July event that begins in downtown Seward and, for the senior or adult division, ascends to the mountain’s 3,022-foot elevation, where the course pulls a u-turn and returns to town.
In a separate race, younger runners in the junior division get off a bit easier, if there is such a thing. They begin at the same starting line, but only go halfway up the mountain before turning around and heading to the finish.
By LISA ZATZ
The Homer Boys’ U14 soccer team played the Kenai U15 Girls at Kenai on June 11. The final score was 2-2. Homer had four breakaways in the first half and their passing game kept them in control of the contest.
The Homer Little League Giants (10- to 12-year-old Majors) made the journey north to Soldotna over the last two weekends to take on four of the top teams in that region. Over the last several years, the Homer boys haven’t fared well against the “big town” rivals, but this year things took a new turn.
Sixteen local athletes competed in the 2013 Special Olympics Alaska Summer Games in Anchorage the weekend of June 7, winning the second-place silver medal in basketball and setting individual personal records in swimming.
The basketball competition began with the Homer team challenging Juneau.
“They ended up getting beat and getting discouraged in that game,” said Carol Shuler, Homer Special Olympics’ volunteer community director.
If the shots for the local basketball teams fall with a little more frequency this year, fans, coaches and players might want to give an assist to the shooting clinic that took place at the Homer High School gym June 14-17.
The two-hour a day sessions was produced by a new local organization called Bruin Basketball. Created to organize clinics in Alaska and ultimately in other states, Bruin founders and Homer residents Chris Etzwiler and Merlin Cordes launched their endeavor last fall with two successful clinics in Seldovia and Nikolaevsk.
Two weeks ago, Homer High School’s Lady Mariners secured first place in the Northern Lights Conference for the third consecutive year. They also took the conference’s academic award for the fourth time since 2005.
Unfortunately, the Mariners’ state championship hopes came to an end Saturday at Cartee Fields in Anchorage with a 9-0 loss to Ketchikan, leaving the Mariners in third place in the 2013 Small School State Softball Tournament.
The following players were chosen to the NLC
All-Conference First Team:
Miranda Beach, Homer
Dannika Catt, Kodiak
Katie Kirsis, Homer
Hannah LaRue, Homer
Maggie LaRue, Homer
Kaycee Munn, Soldotna
Carly Norvelle, Kenai
Cat Schoessler, Skyview
Hope Steffensen, Kenai
Kaia Yatsik, Kodiak
Since May 22, the Homer Lady Mariners have defeated the Skyview Panthers, split a senior night double header against the Kodiak Bears, and then finished their regular season by shutting out the Kenai Kardinals on the road.
Hannah LaRue stole the show on both sides of the ball against the Panthers on May 22, batting in four runners on two hits as well as pitching the lights out on the defensive end, allowing no earned runs, eight strikeouts, and only one hit in her six innings of magic.
The Mariner Varsity baseball team fell just short of their quest for a spot in the state baseball tournament, seeing its season end last Friday after a solid run in the Region III tournament in Wasilla last week.
The Mariners played four games in the Region tourney, winning two and losing two. After losing in the semi-finals in the loser bracket their season came to a close.
The Homer Lady Mariner softball team hosted six games this last week, finishing 3-3 with wins against league opponents Soldotna and Kenai before losing two games to East High, and then one against Service. They finished the action on Saturday by avenging their loss to the Service Cougars.
The Mariners stole 12 bases in their first game against the Soldotna Stars while they took a two-run lead in the first inning. Seniors Maggie Larue, Miranda Beach and Katie Kirsis each knocked home a run to secure the lead as LaRue pitched a shutout at the defensive end.
All it took was one goal, but the Soldotna boys soccer team is headed to State for the first time in four years. The Stars did it by beating Homer 1-0 in the third-place game at the Northern Lights Conference tournament Saturday at the Kenai Soccer Complex.
“It was definitely a goal for us at the beginning of the season, and we definitely played two tough teams the last two games, with Wasilla and Homer back to back,” Soldotna Coach Jeff Siemers said. “We give a lot of credit to Homer, they created a lot of good opportunities, and Kayne had a great day in goal.”
Put a Mariner on dry land and what do you get? A track and field team to be proud of, as the Homer High School boys and girls teams proved at the ASAA 3A State High School Track and Field Championships held last weekend at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks.
With 20 boys and girls squads facing off in one of the coldest track meets of the season, the Homer girls team, with 74 points, took second to Grace Christian, with 117 points. The Homer boys, with 31 points, claimed eighth place, and Anchorage Christian took first with 99 points.
Almost two weeks after the scheduled start, the Homer Mariner baseball team opened their season. Sunny skies, warm temperatures and a beautiful field in Kenai set the stage for a winning afternoon and evening.
Pitcher Zach Haning scattered seven hits and gave up only one run, leading the Homer Mariners to a 4-1 victory over the Kenai Kardinals on May 8. Haning struck out seven Kenai batters and gave up only one walk in a strong complete-game pitching performance in the Mariners’ first game of the season.
The Homer Lady Mariners dominated on the road last weekend, shutting out the Houston Hawks twice by scores of 27-0 in a Friday doubleheader, and picking up a 10-2 win on Saturday against the Wasilla Warriors.
Friday’s inaugural Valley game showed the Mariner bat speed early as they tallied 15 runs in the first inning alone. Senior Hannah LaRue led the offense with a single, double and a triple, which brought four runs across the plate in an offensive performance that was just a home-run shy of hitting for the cycle.
The Mariner boys and girls soccer teams ended the regular season with back-to-back home games of mixed emotions. Friday’s senior night honored 10 graduating players, while the team honored themselves with wins against Palmer.
Lady Mariners 1; Moose 0
Colony 3; Mariners 0
The Lady Mariners won 1-0 against the Moose making it goalkeeper Zoia Basargin’s first shutout game.
After a successful Region III Championship meet held at Nikiski High School, the Homer Mariners are sending 14 athletes to compete in 25 events this weekend at the Alaska State Track and Field Championships at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks.
During last weekend’s Regional Championships, Anchorage Christian School boys claimed first place with a team total of 133 points. The Mariner men followed in sixth place with 44 points.
The Mariners finally got out on the diamond for a game on Wednesday in Kenai, and beat the Kardinals 4-1 to start their official baseball season.
Brian Rowe came up big by boing 4-for-4, followed by Tommy Bowe going 2-for-2 and Lucas Schneider going 2-for-3.
Kenai’s lone run came in the fourth inning when Ethan Oliver scored on a double from Dallas Pierren.
“(Kenai coach) John Kennedy always puts together a team that is fundamentally sound, but we played great defense and had great pitching from Zach Haning,” Homer Coach Lary Kuhns said.
The Kachemak Swim Club traveled to Kenai last weekend for the last meet of the season. There were 138 athletes participating in the event, with 36 of them from Homer.
The KSC’s boys team placed first with 222 points; the girls team placed fourth with 98 points. Five teams participated in each division.
Clayton Arndt, in the 11-12-year-old division, led the KSC swimmers in points with 28. Arndt had six first-place finishes. Griffin Downey placed second in the same division with 19 points.
More than 1,000 wrestlers packed into Wasilla’s Menard Sports Complex last weekend for three days of state tournament action. Homer’s Popeye Wrestling Club finished their season earning 43 medals throughout the ranks of their 35 competitors.
Junior Calvin Johnson led the pack, becoming Homer’s only Triple Crown Winner, defeating North Star’s Aaron Drake three times in the three days of competition. Drake placed third in the high school wrestling season in the same weight class (113 pounds) as Johnson.