Summer training whip Mariner cross-country team into shape for first race

  • Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Kodiak senior Keith Osowski takes a lead he would not relinquish Monday in the junior-senior race at the Nikiski Class Races at Nikiski HIgh School.
  • Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Homer's Alex Moseley, Homer's Megan Pitzman, Kenai's Addison Gibson, Homer's Audrey Rosencrans and Homer's Lauren Evarts (obscured) run with the lead pack early in the junior-senior girls race at the Nikiski Class Races at Nikiski High School on Monday.
  • Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Homer's Charlie Menke and Kenai's Karl Danielson sprint to the finish Monday in the junior-senior boys race at the Nikiski Class Races at Nikiski High School. Menke finished seventh, while Danielson was eighth.

Summer training whip Mariner cross-country team into shape for first race

Many returning cross-country team members spent their summer training for the fall 2016 season, which showed at the Nikiski Class Races where they split the team titles with the Kodiak cross-country team.

Sixteen members of the cross-country team, including a mix of members from the boys and girls team as well as Coach Bill Steyer, attended Steens Mountain Running Camp in Eugene, Ore. over the summer. The camp prepared the team for the coming season.

From strength and teamwork events like bus pulling - during which junior Alex Moseley’s team of 17 beat the other campers by a distance of 5-6 feet - to the final Big Day event where campers racked up miles hiking and running in canyons, Homer’s team is in top competing shape.

“I think it was really good for team bonding,” Moseley said, who attended Steens camp the previous summer as well. “I definitely learned how to be a better leader and I feel like the captains did as well. I learned a lot of mental strength that will really help.”

In addition to the group that attended the running camp, senior Jared Brant attended top wrestling camp J Robinson Wrestling Camp in Wisconsin. Brant said he uses the cross-country season as training for wrestling - his main sport. Coincidentally, the 28-day wrestling camp helped prepare him for the cross-country season.

With eight or nine hours of practice each day and running each morning and night, the camp was an intense one that taught not only athleticism but self-displine, Brant said. At the end, he ran in a 15 mile race and took first place with a time of 1 hour and 38 minutes.

“You had the option to run the 9, the 12 or the 15 (mile race) and by the end of camp there’s about 275 kids I think,” Brant said. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to do, we had to wake up at 4:30. I just kind of concentrated on my form and paced off a kid for half of it and just tried to keep the pace.”

Now as they start the season, both the boys and girls varsity teams - with returning players Jacob Davis, Denver Waclawski, Caleb Rauch, Jared Brant, Luciano Fasulo, Dexter Lowe, Charlie Menke, Jordan Beachy, Elan Carol, Alex Moseley, Hayley Knott, Audrey Rosencrans, Lauren Evarts, Megan Pitzman, Brenna McCarron, Ali McCarron and Katie Davis - have their eye on the state title.

The Mariners won the freshmen-sophomore boys and junior-senior girls crowns at the races, held at Nikiski High School. Kodiak made off with the junior-senior boys and freshmen-sophomore girls championships.

Homer sophomore Dexter Lowe won the freshmen-sophomore boys race, while Kenai Central sophomore Jaycie Calvert crossed the line first in the freshmen-sophomore girls race.

The Homer girls have two-straight Class 1-2-3A state titles to defend, while the Homer boys are looking for a 1-2-3A state title after a runner-up finish to Sitka last season.

The Nikiski course, with its unrelenting ups and downs, typically tells who has done summer training and who hasn’t, and the Mariners’ summer miles showed.

Lowe, who covered five kilometers in 19 minutes, 26 seconds, to top teammate and runner-up Luca Fasulo by 13 seconds, was Homer’s seventh runner last year.

“We’ve been training all summer,” Lowe said. “We’ve been running six days a week and getting our miles in.”

Soldotna sophomore Jeremy Kupferschmid led for about the first half of the race before Lowe and Fasulo took over.

“Coach told us to wait about 2K,” Lowe said. “Don’t go out and lead. Just reel them in and then keep going.”

The Homer boys also got a second from Jacob Davis and a fourth from Jared Brant in the junior-senior race.

The Mariners girls put five runners in the top 10 en route to the junior-senior team title — Alex Moseley in second, Megan Pitzman in fourth, Lauren Evarts in fifth, Audrey Rosencrans in ninth and Haley Knott in 10th.

Moseley, a junior, defeated Pitzman, a senior who was third at Class 1-2-3A state last season, for the first time. Thanks to a summer of training, Moseley said she is better at the beginning of this season than at the end of last season.

“I’ve had a mental block in the past, but this year I think there will be more competition between us,” Moseley said of Pitzman.

Katie Davis also picked up a runner-up finish for the Mariners in the freshmen-sophomore race.

Jeff Helminiak is the sports editor at the Peninsula Clarion and can be reached at jeff.helminiak@peninsulaclarion.com.

Nikiski Class Race results

BOYS

Junior-senior team title: Kodiak.

Junior-senior individuals: 1. Keith Osowski, Kod, 17 minutes, 15 seconds; 2. Jacob Davis, Hom, 18:01; 3. Jack Hannah, Kod, 18:08; 4. Jared Brant, Hom, 18:31; 5. Josh Shuler, Sol, 18:36; 6. Braden Olsen, Ken, 18:38; 7. Charlie Menke, Hom, 19:04; 8. Karl Danielson, Ken, 19:04; 9. Anthony Maghupoy, Kod, 19:12; 10. Brenden Thompson, Kod, 19:16; 11. John-Mark Pothast, Sol, 19:38; 12. Gabe Nummer, Kod, 20:00; 13. Denver Waclawski, Hom, 20:31; 14. Bechler Metcalf, Sol, 20:36; 15. Camrin Yturbe, Kod, 20:43; 16. Sean Verg-in, Sol, 21:26; 17. Cory Thompson, Kod, 22:32; 18. Jaycob Goff, Ken, 22:35; 19. Eli Griffin, Kod, 23:24; 20. Cy Dull, Ken, 23:29; 21. Brian Dusek, Sol, 23:41; 22. Gavin Wallis, Nik, 24:11; 23. Aaron McCollum, Nik, 24:51; 24. Ben Wilson, Sol, 26:44; 25. Henry Heft, Nik, 28:21; 26. Peter Hilbish, Sol, 28:36.

Freshmen-sophomore team title: Homer.

Freshmen-sophomore individuals: 1. Dexter Lowe, Hom, 19:26; 2. Luca Fasulo, Hom, 19:39; 3. Jeremy Kupferschmid, Sol, 19:45; 4. Lance Chilton, Sol, 19:56; 5. Seth Burnett, Kod, 20:09; 6. Michael Bersin, Kod, 20:19; 7. Riley Birbilas, Kod, 20:42; 8. Bradley Walters, Sol, 20:52; 9. Rafael Bitanga, Kod, 21:16; 10. Caleb Rauch, Hom, 21:18; 11. Paul Winegeart, Kod, 21:27; 12. Bill Rich, Hom, 21:53; 13. Rice Miller, Kod, 22:03; 14. Corbin Mattingly, Hom, 22:22; 15. Chance Reynolds, Sol, 22:27; 16. Youji Seto, Kod, 22:38; 17. Alden Bookey, Ken, 23:42; 18. Ethan Anderson, Hom, 23:42; 19. Camron Presley, Sol, 24:20; 20. Mose Hayes, Hom, 25:28; 21. Andy Super, Hom, 25:49; 22. Josiah Overbeek, Kod, 25:54; 23. Bradley Mitchell, Kod, 25:57; 24. Tim Cashman, Sol, 26:13; 25. Brock Kant, Sol, 26:39; 26. Bryan McCollum, Nik, 27:57; 27. Travis Coffee, Hom, 27:58; 28. Kyler Pritchett, Sol, 28:07; 29. Cole Scott, Kod, 30:14; 30. Matthew Wald, Kod, 30:31; 31. Rio Shemet Pitcher, Hom, 30:32; 32. Elbren Montoya, Kod, 30:32; 33. Solomon Himelbloom, Kod, 31:45; 34. Caleb Griffin, Kod, 33:42.

GIRLS

Junior-senior team title: Homer.

Junior-senior individuals: 1. Honey Rose Macatuno, Kod, 22:10; 2. Alex Moseley, Hom, 22:30; 3. Arielle Himelbloom, Kod, 22:35; 4. Megan Pitzman, Hom, 22:48; 5. Lauren Evarts, Hom, 22:49; 6. Addison Gibson, Ken, 22:49; 7. Kellie Arthur, Sol, 23:04; 8. Molly Erickson, Sol, 23:43; 9. Audrey Rosencrans, Hom, 24:01; 10. Haley Knott, Hom, 24:19; 11. Mackenzie Lindeman, Ken, 25:37; 12. Fiona Boze, Sol, 27:36; 13. Kasey Paxton, Ken, 27:55; 14. Breanna McConnell, Ken, 27:58; 15. Dareena Doyle, Ken, 28:25; 16. Elizabeth Lisenby, Sol, 31:56; 17. Ashleigh Herr, Ken, 32:10; 18. Kallie Kenner, Sol, 38:11.

Freshmen-sophomore team title: Kodiak.

Freshmen-sophomore individuals: 1. Jaycie Calvert, Ken, 22:21; 2. Katie Davis, Hom, 23:32; 3. Brooke Satathite, Ken, 23:33; 4. Carly Glover, Kod, 24:00; 5. Maddie Christiansen, Kod, 24:22; 6. Cameron Blackwell, Sol, 25:14; 7. Ali McCarron, Hom, 25:43; 8. Katie Parnell, Kod, 27:30; 9. Shalom Neff, Kod, 28:04; 10. Sophie Thomas, Sol, 29:51; 11. Brenna McCarron, Hom, 30:14; 12. Naomi Daniher, Kod, 34:22; 13. Anahi Ochoa, Hom, 37:01; 14. Victoria Giles, Sol, 37:59; 15. Kayla Sanchez, Kod, 38:28; 16. Ellie Syth, Hom, 43:16.

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