Homer running squads sweep state team titles

  • Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Homer coach Bill Steyer (center) congratulates his girls team for winning the 1-2-3A championship Saturday at the Bartlett High School trails, as Megan Pitzman (570) talks to teammate Autumn Daigle.

The sport of cross-country running is often a numbers game when it comes to team battles, so Saturday’s boys-girls championship sweep by the Homer Mariners in the Class 1-2-3A division was one to cherish.

For a town of just over 5,000 having to battle Anchorage schools like Grace and Anchorage Christian, the occasion marked the pinnacle of success for the Homer running program.

The girls won their third straight state title, matching the school’s precedent of three straight from 1988 to 1990, but for the Mariners boys, the sweet taste of victory was new.

“They saw the girls winning the past two years and they wanted to win,” said Homer Coach Bill Steyer, the architect of the system. “To win both is pretty epic, it’s pretty phenomenal.”

In the 1-2-3A girls race, Glennallen senior Briahna Gerlach capped her prep career with a fourth straight individual title, becoming just the third runner in state history to accomplish the feat, along with Kodiak’s Kristy Klinnert (1983-86) and Seward’s Emily Ransom (1990-93).

The 1-2-3A boys race victory went to Galena’s Jacob Moos, his first state crown, while Seward senior Hunter Kratz saw his dream of winning vanish with a runner-up finish.

The Mariners girls placed three runners in the top 10 and all seven varsity members in the top 18 to complete the three-peat on Saturday.

Leading the Mariners charge in the 1-2-3A girls race was senior Megan Pitzman, who has been a part of the Homer program for all four years. Pitzman finished second in 19:16, a full 32 seconds behind race winner Gerlach.

“It’s a good end to my career,” Pitzman said in the finishing area. Pitzman’s personal best of 18:58 came on the same course in 2014.

Every year, Pitzman has been faced with the task of taking down Gerlach, but the super runner from Glennallen has managed to stymie the field every year at state.

“(Gerlach) is really strong, I think she takes pain really well,” Pitzman said.

The Homer girls won with 33 points to Grace Christian’s 52, a battle that Coach Steyer was expecting to play out.

“We lost two seniors last year, so we knew it was going to be tough,” Steyer said. “We beat them pretty well last week at regions, but we still were watching them.”

Freshman Autumn Daigle was the second Homer runner across the line in sixth place, running a time of 19:52. In her debut season with the Mariners, Daigle said the exploits of the running team are not secret around town.

“Yeah, I knew about them,” Daigle said, eyeing her teammates. “It’s big for Homer, and it’s a great opportunity for me.”

The team’s biggest opposition once again took the form of Grace Christian, a perennial cross-country powerhouse. Daigle said her strategy was to stay with the Grizzlies’ top runner, Grace Gannon, who ended up fifth and 13 seconds ahead of Daigle.

“I was trying to stay with them as long as I could,” Daigle said.

Homer’s third runner across the line was senior Lauren Evarts in 10th, who was followed by Katie Davis in 12th, Alex Moseley in 15th, senior Audrey Rosencrans in 17th and senior Haley Knott in 18th.

The Mariners boys squad took the team title with 45 points, placing four runners in the top 12 to topple the team that got the better of them last year, Sitka. The Wolves had 63 points.

Leading the charge was Jacob Davis in sixth with at time of 16:44. Behind him, Homer placed runners in eighth (Luciano Fasulo), 11th (Jordan Beachy), 12th (Jared Brant), 17th (Charlie Menke), 26th (Bill Rich) and 34th (Denver Waclawski).

“We set a goal to have four guys under 17 (minutes),” Steyer said. Brant finished in 17:06 as the team’s fourth runner.

“We got two under, and it was enough to win.”

So what has changed Homer into a cross-country powerhouse?

Part of the equation has been training athletes to get the most out of training. Every summer for several years, Steyer has encouraged his squad to compete in a high-altitude running camp on the West Coast, not necessarily as a way to build lung capacity, but to get his athletes to approach competition more efficiently.

“Being a good runner is not rocket science,” he said. “It’s about doing your homework and putting in the work every day.”

 

ASAA State Cross-Country

Championships

Saturday at Bartlett High trails

GIRLS

1-2-3A

Team scores — 1. Homer, 33 points; 2. Grace Christian, 52; 3. Seward, 108; 4. Anchorage Christian, 128; 5. Petersburg, 164; 6. Galena, 172; 7. Barrow, 205; 8. Sitka, 254; 9. Nome, 273; 10. Delta Junction, 275; 11. Craig, 289; 12. Unalaska, 298; 13. Bethel, 302; 14. Nenana, 347.

Individual results — 1) Briahna Gerlach, Glennallen 18:44; 2) Megan Pitzman, Homer 19:16; 3) Ruby Lindquist, Seward 19:24; 4) Allison VanPelt, Houston 19:31; 5) Grace Gannon, Grace Christian 19:39; 6) Autumn Daigle, Homer 19:52; 7) Haiely Williams, Delta Junction 19:56; 8) Reyn Hutten, Wrangell 19:57; 9) Tessa O’Hara, ACS 20:13; 10) Lauren Evarts, Homer 20:19; 11) Mazzy Jackson, Grace Christian 20:23; 12) Katie Davis, Homer 20:24; 13) Alaina Wolgemuth, Barrow 20:27; 14) Charlee Demientieff, Grace Christian 20:31; 15) Alex Moseley, Homer 20:36; 16) Laura Ellis, Grace Christian 20:38; 17) Audrey Rosencrans, Homer 20:43; 18) Haley Knott, Homer 20:43; 19) Melissa Nicely, Barrow 20:46; 20) Maddy Morgan, Grace Christian 20:56; 21) Ellie Bietsch, Su Valley 21:04; 22) Grace Annett, Grace Christian 21:07; 23) Kayleigh Eddy, Petersburg 21:32; 24) Jayne Hanna, Nuniwarmiut 21:35; 25) Shyla Cook, Petersburg 21:36; 26) Sadie Lindquist, Seward 21:40; 27) Emma Moore, Seward 21:40; 28) Melanie Chase, Petersburg 21:41; 29) Carol Hailstone, Noorvik 21:47; 30) Brooke Plaster, Grace Christian 21:50; 31) Gloria Jacobson, Glennallen 22:03; 32) Evelyn (EJ) Rochon, Unalakleet 22:05; 33) Ayla McNeilley, Sitka 22:06; 34) Sarah Brown, Galena 22:08; 35) Emily Tedrick, ACS 22:18; 36) Destiny Reimers, ACS 22:23; 37) Naomi Sam, Galena 22:23; 38) Dorothy Bukowski, Bethel 22:26; 39) Coral Petrosius, Seward 22:26; 40) Tanis Lorring, Seward 22:26; 41) Mary Kate Parks, ACS 22:35; 42) Marirose Evenden, Haines 22:37; 43) Danielle Pasitnak, Akiachak 22:38; 44) Lillian Borromeo, Hydaburg 22:39; 45) Ashley Fuller, ACS 22:44; 46) Starr Erickson, Nome 22:49; 47) Acacia Chingliak, Akiachak 22:49; 48) Kiana Korta, Galena 22:50; 49) Celest Kriska, Galena 22:51; 50) Ella Lubin, Sitka 22:52; 51) Mary Fiskeaux, Nome 22:53; 52) Emma Armand, Seward 22:53; 53) Justina Fefelov, Nikolaevsk 23:03; 54) Elaina Mack, King Cove 23:04; 55) Ruth Sobek, ACS 23:11; 56) Alecia Barlow, Craig 23:13; 57) Henrietta Nicholai, Kuskokwim L. A. 23:14; 58) Grace Moore, Hutchison 23:20; 59) Elizabeth Fefelov, Nikolaevsk 23:23; 60) Laura Ekada, Mt Edgecumbe 23:24; 61) Hannah Berkoski, Dillingham 23:25; 62) Sable Zellhuber, Sitka 23:25; 63) Pearle Green, Galena 23:35; 64) Brianna Hernandez, Ben Eielson 23:35; 65) Bridget Nalam, Unalaska 23:36; 66) Margaret Chayalkun, Chevak 23:37; 67) Alexia Bankston, Barrow 23:38; 68) Aquinnah Tremblay, Nenana 23:39; 69) Elizabeth Green, Galena 23:40; 70) Katelyn Johnson, Port Alsworth 23:41; 71) Mary Colbert, Craig 23:42; 72) Meghyn Parker, Petersburg 23:45; 73) Hailey Wilson, Unalaska 24:02; 74) Jolie Lucas, Ben Eielson 24:03; 75) Jacqueline Bennum, Kake 24:04; 76) Celina Johnson, St) Mary’s 24:05; 77) Julia Murph, Petersburg 24:08; 78) Carlee Merriner, Galena 24:10; 79) Areli Stringfellow, Nenana 24:11; 80) Pia Dinon, Craig 24:11; 81) Ava Earthman, Nome 24:13; 82) Sophia Dow, Seward 24:16; 83) Sharon Hansen, Bristol Bay 24:17; 84) Esther Rivers, Scammon Bay 24:18; 85) Naomi Brown, Chevak 24:18; 86) Roxanne Marchuk, Delta Junction 24:19; 87) Alanna Conwell, Kotzebue 24:25; 88) Lindsey Beans-Polk, Bethel 24:26; 89) Sara Wolgemuth, Barrow 24:27; 90) Alyssa Klein, Delta Junction 24:31; 91) Julieanne Berikoff, Unalaska 24:34; 92) Anna Hansen, Bristol Bay 24:35; 93) Reann Lincoln, Paul T Albert 24:36; 94) Dominque Ekak, Nunamiut 24:36; 95) Kara Andrew, New Stuyahok 24:40; 96) LuAnn Niksik, St Michael 24:44; 97) Kiah Charlie, Scammon Bay 24:46; 98) Makenzie Hofacker, ACS 24:56; 99) Mercedez Caudillo, Unalaska 24:57; 100) Moira Sheldon, Kotzebue 24:59; 101) Aspen Hansen, Craig 25:00; 102) Miah Wolfe, Noatak 25:00; 103) Amanda Kanrilak, Paul T Albert 25:03; 104) Hayley Michel, Monroe Catholic 25:10; 105) Schenia Wassilie, Akiachak 25:14; 106) Charity Boyscout, Chevak 25:24; 107) Jean Krause, Dillingham 25:25; 108) Eileen Kasayuli, Scammon Bay 25:27; 109) Tyra Brown, Chevak 25:29; 110) Shannon Stevens, Mountain Village 25:29; 111) Brittney Boney, Bethel 25:35; 112) Amber Wade, Bethel 25:36; 113) Eva Lenhard, Petersburg 25:41; 114) Olivia Wilcox, Sitka 25:45; 115) Keely Harris, Delta Junction 25:50; 116) Daynon Medlin, Nome 25:51; 117) Anjoli Agloinga, White Mountain 25:54; 118) Mallory Conger, Nome 25:58; 119) Chloe Mongoyak-Bro, Barrow 26:00; 120) Laura Ramoth, Selawik 26:03; 121) Rebecca Masterson, Barrow 26:08; 122) Nelliann Smith, Lewis Angapak 26:08; 123) Shana Esmailka, Nenana 26:21; 124) Cate Gomez, Dillingham 26:23; 125) Abi Vose, Sand Point 26:37; 126) Brittney Gardner, Sand Point 26:41; 127) Kiara Kapotak, New Stuyahok 26:48; 128) Kenni Ulak, Scammon Bay 26:54; 129) Taylor Holman, Unalaska 27:22; 130) Stephanie Lane, Point Lay 27:27; 131) Isabelle Hickman, Nikolaevsk 27:33; 132) Katie Kelso, Nome 27:38; 133) Hannah Wegend, Craig 27:52; 134) Zofia Danielson, Sitka 27:56; 135) Justis Geerdts, Bethel 28:26; 136) Abby Fry, Nunamiut 28:32; 137) Megan Webb, Delta Junction 28:39; 138) Elin Hicks, Delta Junction 28:39; 139) Ashley Hansen, Craig 28:44; 140) Nadya Ferguson, Tri-Valley 29:07; 141) Dior Vaughan, Craig 30:35; 142) Nellie Stone, Nenana 34:35; 143) Araya Stoffa, Nenana 35:59.

BOYS

1-2-3A

Team scores — 1. Homer, 45 points; 2. Sitka, 63; 3. Anchorage Christian, 78; 4. Grace Christian, 90; 5. Seward, 175; 6. Bethel, 210; 7. Skagway, 242; 8. Mt. Edgecumbe, 243; 9. Nome, 263; 10. Monroe Catholic, 263; 11. Galena, 278; 12. Unalaska, 284; 13. Kotzebue, 288; 14. Chevak, 374.

Individual results — 1) Jacob Moos, Galena 15:55; 2) Hunter Kratz, Seward 15:57; 3) Blake Bennett, ACS 16:02; 4) Trent Fritzel, Grace Christian 16:21; 5) Zach Hamberger, Cordova 16:38; 6) Jacob Davis, Homer 16:44; 7) David Wilcox, Sitka 16:45; 8) Luciano Fasulo, Homer 16:49; 9) Colin Baciocco, Sitka 16:55; 10) Jack Matherly, Hutchison 17:03; 11) Jordan Beachy, Homer 17:04; 12) Jared Brant, Homer 17:06; 13) Luke Fritzel, Grace Christian 17:09; 14) Joe Pate, Sitka 17:14; 15) Callen Davis, Port Alsworth 17:14; 16) William Parks, ACS 17:29; 17) Charlie Menke, Homer 17:32; 18) Gabe Martin, Grace Christian 17:36; 19) Connor Buxton, Sitka 17:36; 20) Ethan Goebel, Skagway 17:37; 21) Taylor Davis, Port Alsworth 17:38; 22) Kendrick Hoblet, Mt Edgecumbe 17:43; 23) Kaleb Smith, ACS 17:48; 24) Ben Sobek, ACS 17:48; 25) Skyler McIntyre, Sitka 17:49; 26) Bill Rich, Homer 17:54; 27) John Sanford, ACS 17:58; 28) Amos Sage, Noatak 18:00; 29) Dominic Baciocco, Sitka 18:01; 30) Landon Nicholson, Monroe Catholic 18:02; 31) Danny Brady, Skagway 18:04; 32) Andrew Stringfellow, Nenana 18:04; 33) Andrew Marker, Craig 18:04; 34) Denver Waclawski, Homer 18:06; 35) James Swedeen, Sitka 18:07; 36) Emmanuel Budke, Hoonah 18:08; 37) Vincent Coverdell, Grace Christian 18:09; 38) Shannon LeMay, ACS 18:09; 39) Eugene Alexie, Toksook Bay 18:12; 40) Nathaniel Lenhard, Petersburg 18:13; 41) Tobin Karlberg, Grace Christian 18:13; 42) Nicholas Sugar, Lewis Angapak 18:15; 43) Zen Petrosius, Seward 18:16; 44) Colten Mack, Sand Point 18:18; 45) Cole Dull, Dillingham 18:19; 46) Carl Charlie, Bethel 18:20; 47) Nels Alexie-Leona, Bethel 18:24; 48) Harry Baldwin, Kotzebue 18:24; 49) Ethan Isaacson, Grace Christian 18:26; 50) Caden Gerlach, Glennallen 18:26; 51) David Kokrine, Effie Kokrine 18:29; 52) Ethan Tukrook, Point Lay 18:31; 53) Levi Gionet, Grace Christian 18:34; 54) Isaiah Kline, Mt Edgecumbe 18:36; 55) Brendon McMurry, Seward 18:36; 56) Kasper Maier, Hutchison 18:39; 57) Lawrence Poe, Bethel 18:43; 58) Trevor McGee, Port Alsworth 18:45; 59) Wilson Hoogendorn, Nome 18:46; 60) Bryce Knudsen, Kake 18:51; 61) Casey Konukpeok, New Stuyahok 18:52; 62) Wyatt Belisle, Skagway 18:52; 63) Harrison Moore, Nome 18:53; 64) Jaden Van Dyke, Seward 18:54; 65) Shawn Dolohan, Unalaska 18:54; 66) Nathaniel Walsh, Monroe Catholic 18:55; 67) Aaron Rose, Nome 18:57; 68) Raul Garcia, Unalaska 19:02; 69) Dray Pasitnak, Akiachak 19:02; 70) Zachary Trail, Nikolaevsk 19:03; 71) Robert Sheldon, Noatak 19:03; 72) Gabriel Silas, Monroe Catholic 19:04; 73) Glenn Howard, Nenana 19:05; 74) Jaydon Wilson, Unalakleet 19:10; 75) Paul Hunter, Bethel 19:10; 76) Jeremy Ulroan, Mt Edgecumbe 19:12; 77) Trevor Thomas, Barrow 19:13; 78) Rhett Jackson, Kuskokwim L) A) 19:13; 79) Kobe Rivers, Scammon Bay 19:14; 80) Billy Nelson, Kotzebue 19:16; 81) Diesel Geerdts, Bethel 19:16; 82) Hayden Lieb, Bethel 19:19; 83) Ezekiel Eakin, Kotzebue 19:20; 84) Henry Simmonds, Unalaska 19:21; 85) Dillon Fogg, ACS 19:21; 86) Staley Graham, Ben Eielson 19:23; 87) Braden Dallman, Aniak 19:24; 88) Steven Osborn, Seward 19:24; 89) Sean Dorsey, Glennallen 19:32; 90) Craig Hunter, Nenana 19:36; 91) Trevor Wilson, Unalaska 19:36; 92) John Riddle, Galena 19:36; 93) Daniel Kopp, Galena 19:37; 94) Esau Weyiouanna, Barrow 19:43; 95) Michael Hensley, Kotzebue 19:44; 96) Joshua Boyscout, Chevak 19:44; 97) Jacob Clark, Kwethluk 19:46; 98) Ben Cross, Nome 19:48; 99) Simon Estes, Seward 19:48; 100) Roma Hammer, Seward 19:48; 101) Chris Williams, Dillingham 19:49; 102) Stephen Guy, Mt Edgecumbe 19:50; 103) Jamie Yi, Nome 19:51; 104) Brandal Arnold, Mt Edgecumbe 19:54; 105) Nick Sewell, Delta Junction 19:58; 106) Edward Atcherian, Chevak 20:02; 107) Sam Bloom, Monroe Catholic 20:03; 108) Kip Angaiak, Monroe Catholic 20:03; 109) Shawn Williams, Mt Edgecumbe 20:04; 110) Jaden Ulroan, Chevak 20:06; 111) Amos Charlie, Galena 20:07; 112) Michael Hopson, Barrow 20:07; 113) Mathias Capp, Hutchison 20:08; 114) Talon Shaishnikoff, Unalaska 20:11; 115) Isaac Evan, Kalskag 20:14; 116) Thomas Warren, Delta Junction 20:18; 117) Michael Trail, Nikolaevsk 20:20; 118) Jalen Cannon, Point Hope 20:21; 119) Colton Belisle, Skagway 20:22; 120) Ian Samuelson, King Cove 20:30; 121) Matthew Nielson, Nome 20:31; 122) Shain Hardiman-Agi, Chevak 20:31; 123) Steaven McKnight, Skagway 20:33; 124) Jonathan Dorsey, Glennallen 20:33; 125) Ronnie Coolidge, Galena 20:35; 126) Cooper Wood, Delta Junction 20:38; 127) Carey Boston, Unalaska 20:48; 128) Jerome Redfox, Emmonak 20:49; 129) Jacob Edgerley, Hutchison 20:49; 130) Micah Cook, Skagway 20:58; 131) Jacob Brouillette, Elim 21:05; 132) Harley Rider, Kotzebue 21:08; 133) Blunka Blunka, New Stuyahok 21:11; 134) Christian Balko, Monroe Catholic 21:12; 135) Brayden Bahnke, Mt Edgecumbe 21:16; 136) Tom Tunutmoak, Scammon Bay 21:21; 137) Harold Naneng, Galena 21:37; 138) Triston Chaney, Dillingham 21:41; 139) JohnRick Nobleza, Barrow 21:51; 140) Theodore Sundown, Scammon Bay 21:54; 141) Seth Usugan, Chevak 22:09; 142) Josh Morry, Nunamiut 22:09; 143) Joshua Prentice, White Mountain 22:17; 144) Kevin Bergman, Galena 22:27; 145) Jerome Moore, Emmonak 22:39; 146) Graydon Severian, King Cove 22:59; 147) Chase Nay, Nunamiut 27:52.

Joey Klecka can be reached at joe.klecka@peninsulaclarion.com.

Comments

A Facebook login using a real name is required for commenting. Respectful and constructive comments are welcomed. Abusers will be blocked and reported to Facebook.