Getting one step closer to state, Homer Mariner varsity girls cross country team raced into second place at the Palmer Invite on Saturday, with a total 100 points. Soldotna claimed first place, with 78 points, and Grace Christian trailed Homer with 102.
The invite was an opportunity for Homer and Grace Christian, both 3A schools, to test themselves against the larger 4A schools, said Bill Steyer, Homer’s head coach.
The Homer Mariners got their season back on track with a 30-0 win over the host Skyview Panthers on Saturday afternoon at Skyview High School.
For Skyview (1-2 overall, 0-2 league), the loss came in the school’s final homecoming game — amid procession and celebration — before it shuts down next year.
But for the Mariners, who surpassed Skyview in the Northern Lights Conference standings with a 1-2 NLC record, the first win of the year sure felt good.
Homer High’s volleyball team played a fast-paced tournament in Cordova on Aug. 30-31, after maneuvering through some unexpected travel complications. Two players were recognized with tournament awards and the Mariners placed third, which Coach Beth Trowbridge said served as a valuable warm up to the tournament-intensive season.
“I am so impressed by the level of play that these girls achieved this weekend,” said Trowbridge. “They showed their potential and they gained respect from the other teams. Homer can expect some exciting volleyball this season.”
The Homer Mariners captured top team honors at the Skyview Invitational swim meet on Friday at Skyview High, topping Seward and Skyview with a total of 202 points. The Seahawks earned 94 points for second place, while the Panthers had 22 for third.
If any game has shown unbreakable Homer Mariner pride, it was Saturday’s game against the Kenai Kardinals, with the Kardinals winning 78-6.
“It was definitely a game that tested the guys’ mettle,” said Mariner Head Coach Josh Fraley.
The game also proved a famous line of the late Duffy Daugherty, 18-year head coach of Michigan State University.
“Football isn’t a contact sport. It’s a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport,” according to Daugherty, a 1984 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame.
After being defeated in the season’s first conference played in Barrow last week, the Voznesenka Cougars grabbed hold of the Valdez Buccaneers on Friday and refused to let go, claiming a 42-28 victory.
“The teams were well-matched. It was a lot better than Barrow,” said Voznesenka Head Coach Justin Zank.
One big difference was that, after struggling to scrape together enough players for an 11-man team, Zank had a little room to spare on Friday.
“We have some more guys and I dressed out 17 total,” he said.
Under sunny skies and before a crowd of cheering fans, the Homer Mariner girls varsity cross country team raced into first place at the Homer Invite Friday, with Soldotna in second and Kenai in third. The Mariner boys varsity team dashed into second place, with Kenai in first, Skyview in third and Soldotna in fourth.
“I was extremely pleased with how the meet went, certainly with how our teams performed,” said Homer Head Coach Bill Steyer.
Teams from Skyview, Kenai, SoHi, Nikiski and Seward traveled to Homer last weekend for Homer’s 2013 Jamboree, two days of fast-paced volleyball action.
“The Jamboree is always a fun, first event to kick off the season,” said Mariner Head Coach Beth Trowbridge. “It is considered a practice tournament so there are no awards given and typically we don’t even have a championship match.”
The Jamboree provided Homer the experience of playing in a varsity setting and the opportunity to work on their on-court communication skills and serving consistency.
In their first official Great Land Conference 11-man football game last Saturday, the Voznesenka Cougars traveled across the state to take on the Barrow High School Whalers.
Returning home after a 6-46 loss, Voznesenka Head Coach Justin Zank said the game offered glimpses of the team’s strengths, as well as its weaknesses.
“Quarterback Avraam Kalugin gave everything he had for that game,” said Zank. “Linebacker Mavrick Ivanov was all over the field for our defense. He was form-tackling extremely well.”
Charging into their first conference game of the season, the Homer Mariners met a formidable foe in the Kodiak Bears on Saturday. Short a few players and clearly outnumbered, the Mariners lost 8-26, but are gearing up to take the field this Saturday in a game against the Kenai Kardinals.
“There were some first-game jitters, some learning, some seeing what the guys can and can’t do,” said Mariner Head Coach Josh Fraley. “That’s pretty common.”
The rain held off, the fans cheered and there was action on the Homer High School football field Saturday in a scrimmage between the HHS Mariners and the Voznesenka Cougars. Four quarters later, the Mariners claimed a 48-6 victory and both teams had a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses before conference games begin this weekend.
“We didn’t want to go into a conference game without getting some football under our belt,” said Mariner Head Coach Josh Fraley.
The first game of the Homer High School Mariner football season was scheduled to be Saturday against Monroe Catholic High School in Fairbanks. However, that game has been canceled.
Instead, at noon Saturday the Mariners, coached by Josh Fraley, will scrimmage with the Voznesenka Cougars’ football team, coached by Justin Zank.
On Aug. 24, the Mariners will take on the Kodiak Bears in Homer.
The Mariners and Cougars will be sharing the HHS field this football season.
The Soccer Association of Homer was again represented by the Homer Vortex, a team of boys under the age of 15, and the Homer Hawks, a coed team of players under the age of 12, in their final matches of the season against Kenai on July 23.
Playing coed against a Kenai team of girls under the age of 15, the Homer Vortex had its most exciting game yet. The final score was Vortex 5 and Kenai 2.
Homer was well represented by team Vortex at the North Star Soccer Tournament in Anchorage, July 12-14.
In an exciting game against Velocity White, Vortex tied 2-2. Homer’s passing game and 10 saves by Keeper Charles Rohr kept the opponent’s lead to only two at the half. Then Vortex dug in for a comeback in the second half, with a beautiful pass by Joe Ravin to Charles Rohr who scored, bringing the score to 2-1. An unassisted goal by Charles Rohr tied it up at 2-2, and that’s where the score remained for the last 12 minutes of the game.
It’s been a busy few weeks for the Soccer Association of Homer competitive teams.
Take the Spit Run, chop the 6.2-mile distance in half, stand it on its ear and what do you have? Seward’s annual Mt. Marathon Race, a Fourth of July event that begins in downtown Seward and, for the senior or adult division, ascends to the mountain’s 3,022-foot elevation, where the course pulls a u-turn and returns to town.
In a separate race, younger runners in the junior division get off a bit easier, if there is such a thing. They begin at the same starting line, but only go halfway up the mountain before turning around and heading to the finish.
By LISA ZATZ
The Homer Boys’ U14 soccer team played the Kenai U15 Girls at Kenai on June 11. The final score was 2-2. Homer had four breakaways in the first half and their passing game kept them in control of the contest.
The Homer Little League Giants (10- to 12-year-old Majors) made the journey north to Soldotna over the last two weekends to take on four of the top teams in that region. Over the last several years, the Homer boys haven’t fared well against the “big town” rivals, but this year things took a new turn.
Sixteen local athletes competed in the 2013 Special Olympics Alaska Summer Games in Anchorage the weekend of June 7, winning the second-place silver medal in basketball and setting individual personal records in swimming.
The basketball competition began with the Homer team challenging Juneau.
“They ended up getting beat and getting discouraged in that game,” said Carol Shuler, Homer Special Olympics’ volunteer community director.
If the shots for the local basketball teams fall with a little more frequency this year, fans, coaches and players might want to give an assist to the shooting clinic that took place at the Homer High School gym June 14-17.
The two-hour a day sessions was produced by a new local organization called Bruin Basketball. Created to organize clinics in Alaska and ultimately in other states, Bruin founders and Homer residents Chris Etzwiler and Merlin Cordes launched their endeavor last fall with two successful clinics in Seldovia and Nikolaevsk.