There’s no question that 12-year-old hockey athletes Clark Bolin and Ethan Pitzman know a thing or two about hockey. Bolin has been playing since he was four; Pitzman since he was five. It took more than on-ice know-how to land a spot on an AK Selects hockey team, however, and represent the state, as well as their hometown.
My mother was an ace athlete. She was strong, fast and could think quickly on her feet. She was fiercely competitive and played shortstop on a women’s softball team when women’s softball was a novelty.
By the time I came along, Mom’s competitive softball playing days were over. I saw the photos and heard the stories. Bigger-than-life stories. The kind that left me feeling intimidated right down to the bottom of my non-competitive, unathletic feet.
The day it was announced my sixth-grade class was going to begin playing softball during PE, I went home in tears.
Last weekend’s sunny weather ignited great Mariner play with two shutouts against Seward and Soldotna, giving Homer practice at dominating the offensive side of the field. The empowering last home games of the season will give Homer momentum going into Regionals, which will be held in Wasilla over Memorial Weekend.
Mariners finished with finesse against Seward during Friday’s game, blasting five goals shot into the back of the net by Maggie Koplin, Sofia Ramirez-Clark, Megan Pitzman and Sam Draves.
Homer Mariners conquered Seward and Skyview this weekend with ease, allowing junior varsity players an opportunity for varsity playing time. Homer will be seeded first in the South Division for Regions in Wasilla on Memorial Weekend thanks to their impressive 10-1 season win-to-loss ratio.
Coach of seven years, Warren Waldorf says the team is on a roll and with their almost flawless record he hopes they can get a loss, if it were to happen, out of the way.
Homer High School Mariners boys track and field team claimed an overall fourth place and the girls third in the Region III Track and Field Championship in Palmer on May 16. They also earned four individual regional championship titles:
First place, 800 meters:
First place, 1600 meters:
First place, 3200 meters:
The Mariners varsity and junior varsity baseball team made a three-stop tour north last week, with stops in Wasilla, Palmer and Houston. In Wasilla, the varsity took a 12-7 loss, while the JV team scored a 5-1 win. In Palmer, the JV’s had a 6-2 victory and the varsity Mariners came back with a 10-8 win. Playing against Houston on Saturday, the varsity Mariners celebrated another win, with a score of 12-8. The junior varsity team’s undefeated records came to an end, however, with an 11-0 loss to Houston.
The Homer Mariners softball team was host to a two-day tournament May 16-17, with varsity and junior varsity teams from Skyview and Eagle River traveling to Homer. The Mariners varsity team played the Eagle River varsity Friday, landing a 16-2 victory in four innings. The Mariner JV team followed, with a 12-0 shutout of the Eagle River JV team in three innings of play.
This week the Mariners played the SoHi Stars at Soldotna on Tuesday. Today, they head to Kodiak for a weekend of games against the Kodiak Bears.
Homer Middle School Huskies track and field athletes focused on having fun and reaching their personal bests at the Kenai Peninsula Borough meet in Kenai May 16. Coach Kellie Bowlin says her runners don’t need to come in first to be a success, just improving and working hard as an athlete can be a winner.
The following Mariner athletic awards were awarded by Homer High School’s coaching staff:
Male Athlete of the Year
Pedro Ochoa, senior: cross country running, wrestling, track
Following Nikolaevsk School’s end-of-the-year awards assembly, the students, faculty, staff and a scattering of parents were asked to stay seated. There was one more recognition in store.
“We are making history today,” said Bea Klaich, head coach of Nikolaevsk’s girls varsity basketball team.
To her left sat a smiling Nianiella Dorvall, a high school senior, surrounded by her family — parents Dan and Luba Dorvall and younger sister Anastacia.
May 10, Kenai Central High School
The Mariner boys track and field team pushed into second place at borough championships in Kenai on Saturday, tying with Skyview and with Kenai Central in first place.
“The boys did awesome,” said Mariner Head Coach Bill Steyer. “They collectively ran from the heart and ran extremely well. They’ve been improving all year and pulled it all together.”
The Homer girls claimed third place, with Soldotna in first and Kenai Central in second. Steyer took advantage of the meet to focus on his training strategy.
In a game against the SoHi stars on Saturday, the Mariners scored a 9-7 win, their first for the season.
“I was impressed with how our team responded early in the game, chipping away at Soldotna’s five-run lead,” said Mariner Head Coach Mark Putney. “We didn’t give up, and this made our comeback, in the last inning, possible.”
It was a 12-0, four inning victory for the Homer High School Mariners softball team in a May 7 game against SoHi.
“I’m really pleased they were hitting all the way through the lineup,” said Head Coach Bill Bell.
That gave the Mariners two Northern Lights Conference wins last week after beating the Kenai Kardinals 17-0 on May 5. The team had a challenging start to the season, with 13 losses in games against some of the state’s biggest and strongest teams, but that was all part of Bell’s game plan.
If you thought basketball season was over, you haven’t been watching the NBA playoffs. Or you weren’t at the Homer High School gym on Saturday to see Special Olympics basketball teams from Homer and the Central Peninsula play the game with lots of heart and fierce competitive spirit.
The final score was 42-31, Homer’s favor.
Mariner boys soccer racks up three wins
On Thursday, the Homer Mariners boys and girls varsity soccer teams faced the Houston Hawks on Homer High‘s upper field. On Friday, the Mariners two varsity teams battled with the Colony Knights, shifting the action down to Homer’s lower field.
Tuesday, the soccer action continued with at-home games against Nikiski. Wednesday, the Mariners were back on the field with games against SoHi.
The boys scored a 4-0 victory over the Hawks on Thursday, then suffered a 3-0 loss to the Knights on Friday.
Former Ninilchik basketball coach Dan Leman and his daughter and star player, Whitney, were among 11 named to the Alaska High School Hall of Fame, the Alaska School Activities Association announced last week.
The Lemans will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Aug. 3, in Anchorage.
The public is invited.
Dimond High School
HOMER BOYS INDIVIDUAL VARSITY SCORES
800 METERS: 3. Pedro Ochoa, 2:02.91
1600 METERS: 30. Les Crane, 5:30.88
3200 METERS: 3. Pedro Ochoa, 9:59.66
300 METER HURDLES, 36-INCH: 5. Connor Seay, 44.82
4X400 RELAY: 11. Homer, 49.33
4X200 RELAY: 11. Homer, 1.42.95
4X400 RELAY: 12. H0mer, 4:01.28
SHOT PUT, 12 LB: 18 Chase Crauthers, 32’09.00; 22. Ian Lowe, 29’11.00
DISCUS, 1.6 KG: 28. Jake Richter, 72’02.00
LONG JUMP: 8. John Shank, 18’04.00; 9. Connor Seay, 17’06.75
Participating in the two-day Anchorage Invite was an open door for the Homer Mariner track and field athletes to plant their feet on the site where state championships will be in a few weeks.
More importantly, while there the team scored some “really good performances,” said Head Coach Bill Steyer.
Senior Pedro Ochoa finished third in the 3200 meters, with an impressive time of 9:59.
“He broke 10 minutes in the 2-mile, which is a pretty significant barrier,” said Steyer.
Ochoa also placed third in the 800 meters, crossing the finish line in 2:02.91.