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.
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.
The Colony girls and Kodiak boys picked up team titles Friday and Saturday at the Homer Invitational at Homer High School.
The Colony girls scored 83 points to win, while Kodiak was second with 69 and Soldotna was third with 68. Kenai was fifth while Homer was sixth.
The Kodiak boys scored 123 points to top runner-up Soldotna’s 75. Homer was fifth, while Kenai was sixth.
The Mariners picked themselves out of the Peninsula Conference basement with a rout of Seward on Friday night.
The Mariners won 40-6 on Seward’s home turf.
Sophomore quarterback Teddy Croft led the Homer charge with 3 for 6 passes completed for 88 yards and two touchdowns, and added 84 rushing yards and a touchdown.
“I knew if we didn’t take care of business, it would become a mundane season,” said Homer Coach Josh Fraley. “We had the opportunity to keep our season going, keep the dream alive.”
Megan Pitzman won the girls race Friday at the Ft. Abercrombie Invitational in Kodiak to lead the Homer girls to the team victory.
The Mariners girls had 23 points, while Kodiak had 46 and East had 71.
Pitzman ran five kilometers in 20:28 for the win, while Kodiak’s Zoe Bigley was runner-up at 20:54.
Also in the top 10 for Homer were Audrey Rosencrans at third, Alex Mosley at fourth, Aurora Waclawski at seventh, Ziza Shemet-Pitcher at eighth, Lauren Evarts at ninth and Haley Knott at 10th.
On the boys side, Keith Osowski led the Kodiak boys to victory.
After hosting the annual swim team triathlon fundraiser last Saturday, the Mariners on Friday and Saturday welcome swimmers and divers from seven other schools for the Homer Invite.
Approximately 200 athletes from Homer, Soldotna, Kenai, Seward, Palmer, Colony, Kodiak and Unalaska are expected to participate.
Meeting for the first time as conference opponents, the Nikiski football team pulled out a 50-18 victory over the Homer Mariners Saturday afternoon in Homer.
The win improves Nikiski to 2-1 overall (1-0 Peninsula Conference), while Homer is still searching for its first win at 0-3 overall (0-1 conference).
Corin Cooper led the Bulldogs charge with 138 rushing yards and five touchdowns, while Rykker Riddall added 127 yards and a pair of scoring plays. Nikiski finished with 352 team rushing yards.
The host team Homer Mariners picked up a sweep of the team titles against Soldotna in Friday’s Homer Invitational cross-country meet.
Megan Pitzman led a pack of Mariners in the girls 5-kilometer event, winning with a time of 20 minutes, 41 seconds, 21 ticks ahead of teammate Audrey Rosencrans in second. Alex Moseley, Aurora Waclawski and Ziza Shemet-Pitcher completed the top five. Hannah Pothast was the top finishing Soldotna runner in sixth, with a time of 21:39.
The dominant showing allowed the Mariners to cruise to the team win 15-44.
The defending small-schools state champion Ravens used a punishing rushing attack to turn back the host Mariners on Saturday.
The Ravens, of the Aurora Conference, had 386 rushing yards against the Mariners of the small-schools Peninsula Conference.
Kalib Dunlap led the way on the ground for Eielson with 13 rushes for 164 yards and three touchdowns, while Caleb Velez had seven carries for 89 yards and two scores. Antonio Griffith and Andrew North added rushing scores for the Ravens, who had a 33-0 lead after the first quarter.
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.
Although this past weekend didn’t end in a victory, the Homer High School softball team held its own during the state championships in Fairbanks, placing third overall and winning two out of four games. The Mariners lost to Sitka and Ketchikan, but had overwhelming wins against Hutchison and North Pole.
The Homer softball team cannot seem to crack the Southeast code, but the same can be said for most of the state.
The Mariners’ 2015 soccer season drew to a close Friday. The boys team had a fantastic season and reached state for the third time in Mariner history, before ending the season with a 2-1 loss against Bartlett.
The team put up a solid defense against Bartlett, refusing to go down without a fight. Senior Kenneth Schneider scored a penalty kick against Bartlett.
“You know it was a tough game. It ended up being our last, but the boys never stopped playing. ... We went out very well,” said Head Coach Warren Waldorf.
The Mariner baseball team dropped two games in regional play in Wasilla to close out the 2015 season.
In game 1, the Mariners fell to Palmer 16-9. Kyle Johnson started on the mound with Owen Delehanty pitching the last several innings in relief.
The Palmer club had the bats going early, picking up five hits and four runs in the first and then six runs in the third to claim a commanding early lead.
The Homer High School track and field season ended with success as the girls team secured second overall at the State Championships last weekend.
The girls team chalked up 80 points during the meet, losing out to Anchorage Christian who scored 95.
“I really couldn’t be happier,” said Coach Bill Steyer. “It was a great finish to the season.”
On Thursday the Girls Soccer team squared off in the first round of regionals against Colony. Colony had proven to be a challenge for the Mariners all season, and beat the girls 0-4.
Unfortunately this was a first round elimination, and effectively ended the girls soccer season.
Though a disappointing ending to a difficult season, 2015 proved to be a promising year several players. Uliana Reutov, a sophomore, ended the season with the most points, scoring 7 total goals and an assist throughout the season.
The regionals have proven to be a tense challenge for the Mariners. But after Beating both Wasila and Grace Christian, the boys soccer team is forging it’s own path ahead to the state championship.
Thursday was the first round of the regionals in Palmer, and was a sudden death elimination. Teams that lost this first round were immediately knocked out of the bracket. The Mariners faced off against Wasilla for a challenging start to the conference.
The public is invited to a fun day of golf and lunch in support of Hospice of Homer. The sixth annual Holes “Fore” Hospice golf tournament will be Saturday, June 6, at TIPS Golf Course. It is located at 57172 East End Road.
Early entry fees are $ 55 per person and includes18 holes of golf, lunch and range balls. Early registration can be made at the Hospice of Homer office, 265 E. Pioneer Ave. Suite 3 or at the TIPS Golf Course. Registration on the day of the event at the course is $65 and starts at 8 a.m. The tournament begins at 9 a.m.
The Mariners finished regular season play with a win over the Kenai Kardinals and a loss and win against the Palmer Moose.
Mariners win big over the Kardinals:
The Homer Mariners travelled to Kenai May 21, routing the Kardinals 17-5. Brandon Beachy pitched a strong game for Homer, with Greg Smith catching. Beachy gave up six hits and minimized free passes, limiting the scoring by Kenai. JJ Sonnen came on to pitch a 1-2-3 6th inning in relief.
The Homer softball team defeated Kenai Central 20-0 in three innings on Tuesday in Northern Lights Conference action at Kenai.
Homer is 13-3 overall and 6-0 in the NLC, qualifying the Mariners for the small-schools state tournament, which will be June 5-6 in Fairbanks.
The Kardinals finish the season at 2-10 overall and 1-5 in the Northern Lights Conference.