The Kenai Peninsula showed up in droves to take on the state’s fastest, strongest and most agile athletes Friday and Saturday at the state track and field championships at Dimond Alumni Field in Anchorage.
In the end, three event victories went to peninsula entrants in the Class 4A meet and eight event wins went to peninsula entrants at the Class 1-2-3A level.
Both boys and girls teams for the Homer High Mariners lost to Colony on Thursday, May 19, ending the Mariner’s soccer season before reaching states. While the girls lost in a shutout with six points on them, the boys gave Colony a run for the win.
Colony boys 1, Homer 0
Another collegiate hoops team is getting a Warrior. Megan Hickman, a five-year starter for the Class 1A Nikolaevsk girls, put pen to paper April 13 in front of a crowd of friends and family members and signed her commitment to play college basketball at the Division II University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Hickman, a crafty point guard, became the second Nikolaevsk girls player to continue her playing career in college, joining 2014 graduate Nianiella Dorvall who moved on to play at Skagit Valley College, in Mount Vernon, Wash.
It had been 25 years since the Homer Mariners had a girls basketball team appear in a state championship game, and a semifinal win Friday changed that.
As for the state crown itself, well, that’ll have to wait another year.
The Homer girls fell 49-26 to the Barrow Whalers in a matchup of the top two seeds in the Class 3A girls state final Saturday, March 26, at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
“We forced some stuff, and it just wasn’t our day,” said Homer Head Coach Chad Felice. “We just didn’t have it.”
The Ninilchik girls sent out their senior class with victory Saturday at the Class 1A state tournament consolation championship at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
The Nikolaevsk girls also went out winners Saturday, topping Shishmaref 50-45 in overtime for fourth place in the 1A tourney.
Following a heartbreaking opening day loss to Aniak, Ninilchik won three straight games to claim the consolation prize with a 42-31 victory over Newhalen.
Every one of the eight state championship basketball banners that hang in the Ninilchik School gymnasium were earned by the school’s girls squads.
Scooch over a bit, Dan Leman. Another banner is about to join you.
The Ninilchik boys claimed their first ever state crown Saturday with a thrilling 41-37 overtime win over fellow Peninsula Conference rivals Nikolaevsk in the Class 1A title game at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
With a win and a loss at the March 11 and 12 regions games under their belt, the Homer girls varsity basketball team will make their way to Anchorage for the state competition on March 24-26. The girls are the number two seed overall going into the state tournament, and are still the number one seed in their division with a 22-2 season record, according to girls varsity basketball head coach Chad Felice.
Tired, disheveled, a bit banged up, but with joyous expressions on their faces, the Ninilchik girls basketball squad celebrated Friday night like the old days.
After seeing Cook Inlet Academy and Nikolaevsk exchange the Peninsula Conference crown the past several years, the Wolverines were beginning to wonder if they would ever see it again. The senior class had taken loss after loss in their early years, and improved squads the last two seasons fell just short of state glory.
The Mariners girls basketball team scored a nonconference win over the Kenai Kardinals Tuesday evening, led by the 19 points by senior Madison Akers.
Kenai junior Lara Creighton matched that with 19 points of her own in the Kardinals loss, which dropped them to 1-7 overall for the season. Homer moved to 3-1 overall.
The final score was Homer girls 45, Kenai 35.
On the boys side, the Kardinals tallied 26 points in the second quarter to pull away for a 71-33 nonconference victory over the Mariners.
With such close parity in competition in the Class 3A Southcentral Conference, basketball teams on the Kenai Peninsula will be facing a long road full of challenges en route to the region tournament in early March.
Add one more to the mix.
Saturday night inside the packed Bartlett High gym, the Homer wrestling team celebrated an occasion almost 30 years in the making.
The Mariners captured the Class 1-2-3A state team championship to win their fourth state title in school history and first since 1986, piling up 212 points to capture the team championship. Perennial contender Bethel finished second with 168 points, while defending champions Kotzebue were third with 138.5 points.
The Homer Mariners brought home the hardware Saturday at the Kachemak Conference wrestling championships, although they did not have to go very far to put it in the school display case.
Riding on the strength of seven individual champions (including girls), the Mariners were crowned region champs for the first time since 1986, rolling up a total of 239 points. Houston finished second with 197 and Nikiski was third with 193.5.
Homer fought hard against Soldotna in the third-place duals at this weekend’s North-South Duals wrestling tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Soldotna Prep, only to be defeated 46-36.
Colony cruised to the North-South championship Saturday with a 52-28 dual win over Valley rival Wasilla.
This week, the Homer High wrestling team travels to what coach Chris Perk calls “the toughest meet in Alaska,” the Lancer Smith Memorial in Palmer. There, they’ll face nearly every team in the state, including both 4A and Small Schools. The JV team will also wrestle at the Colony Scramble.
As the coach of a rising wrestling squad, Perk is seeing early returns on the effort to build up a successful program.
Homer gave the Kenai Peninsula a sweep of the girls cross-country team titles by repeating last season’s Class 1-2-3A triumph Saturday afternoon at the wet and muddy Bartlett High trails in Anchorage.
For the larger schools, the Kenai Kardinals captured their first cross-country team championship in school history, placing three runners in the Class 4A girls top six to edge the West Valley girls 60 points to 65. Chugiak took third with 68 points.
Last Friday afternoon’s 34th Annual SoHi Pentathlon at Soldotna High School meet featured a little bit of new and a little bit of old.
The new was Kodiak sophomore Marina Cummisky snapping a four-year streak of Lindquists owning the girls Pentathlon challenge, as Jori and Tahna Lindquist combined to win every year since 2011. Both Lindquist sisters are now graduated.
The small school Homer Mariners struggled to contain medium school Thunder Mountain High School Falcons running back Q’on Bear-Clark, who scored four times and racked up 316 rushing yards on 39 carries.
A back-and-forth battle on Saturday saw Homer take the lead with just over 11 minutes remaining on a 45-yard completion from quarterback Teddy Croft to Justin Sumption, which put the Mariners ahead 24-20.
When the state inducted a new class of luminaries into the Alaska High School Hall of Fame, the Kenai Peninsula had the chance to celebrate two of its own as they were recognized for their imprint upon the history of high school athletics.
Dave Schroer and Roger Steinbrecher are two of nine new inductees honored Aug. 2 at the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage. With a combined 48 years of dedicated service to the Kenai Peninsula Borough — and years more of immeasurable success — both men have played critical roles in establishing and growing their community.